TDSB Cross Dressing Curriculum For Kindergarten

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					i am asking you to do something
            anything
       everyday to change
   the way that we as a culture
        have been dealing
         with difference.
                      - k. bornstein -




a curriculum resource for elementary school classrooms
                     lee hicks  2011 
thanks and acknowledgements
I began this project in 2009 for one specific, fantastic, both/and kid.
I continued it for the rest of us.
I would like to send this curriculum document off into the world with the same blessing as I gave the
video:

this is for small and big people who are both/and.
 lee

The video itself could not have been completed without the generous time and talents of several people
other than myself, including;

Carol Culhane, who composed, played and recorded all of the music that is much, much more than
background. Thank you for this, and also for being the best friend in the history of ever.
 2009 with gratitude for a rainy sunday afternoon by Carol Culhane

Gove and Lilly Flawn, voiceover artists extraordinaire, who gave up an entire weekend afternoon with
only some vegan banana bread and my undying gratitude for thanks… amazing.

Peggy Sleegers who, along with Carol Culhane, helped me figure out and finagle enough of the stuff I
don’t know about sound recording to make the video sound good.

Very significant thanks also to The Elementary Teachers of Toronto, whose generous funding made
the video production of both/and possible.

I would also like to thank Javier Davila and Ken Jeffers at the TDSB office for Gender Based Violence
Prevention for ongoing support of this project and of teachers and students in general.

Special thanks to both Tara Elliott and Alex Duffy from Egale Canada for believing in this project and
for welcoming it into a very good home on www.mygsa.ca

To everyone who has attended screenings and discussion groups to participate in curriculum
development for this project; thank you for your energy and your many brilliant thoughts and ideas.
To all of the many others who have supported and inspired this project – thank you.

Much of the both/and text was quoted and/or paraphrased from the introduction to Hello Cruel World:
101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein,
7 Stories Press,  2006

Many thanks to everyone at 7 Stories Press for facilitating the legal use of this material, and especially
of course to the magnificent Kate Bornstein for generously allowing me to work directly from her
words and ideas for this project.

This document was made to be shared.
Feel free to share it.
Please share often.

Lee Hicks is a visual artist, trans activist and elementary school teacher living in Toronto, Ontario.
Comments, stories and suggestions to the author are welcome: leehicks30@gmail.com
 2011

                                                                                                         2
      more
than anything else
   we want to
       love
  and be loved.
- the Skills and Principles of Loving -
        SHALOM MOUNTAIN
     SACRED RETREAT CENTRE




                                          3
table of contents

introduction                                          6 –8



CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
overview                                              10 – 11

guide to grade-specific curriculum links              12 – 14



LESSON PLANS
general introduction                                  16

 first things first – building classroom community   17


early learner – kindergarten
introduction                                          18
overview of curriculum                                19
RESPONSE TO BOTH/AND
students’ prior knowledge                             20 – 22
PART ONE – self-portraits                             23 – 26
PART TWO – visual show and share                      27 – 28
PART THREE – planning for action                      28 – 30


primary – grades 1 to 3
introduction                                          31
overview of curriculum                                32
RESPONSE TO BOTH/AND
students’ prior knowledge                             33 – 35
PART ONE – self-portraits                             36 – 39
PART TWO – visual show and share                      40 – 41
PART THREE – planning for action                      41 – 43


                                                                4
junior – grades 4 to 6
introduction                                      44
overview of curriculum                            45
RESPONSE TO BOTH/AND
students’ prior knowledge                         46 – 48
PART ONE – self-portraits                         50 – 53
PART TWO – visual show and share                  54 – 55
PART THREE – planning for action                  55 – 57


visual documentation                              58 – 62

sample “beautiful stuff” letter to families       63 – 64

template for “imagine a world” drawing            65

“imagine a world” creative visualization script   66 – 67

resources                                         68

glossary of terms                                 69 –70




                                                            5
both/and curriculum resource
introduction
When I started this project in the spring of 2009, it was in response to an actual situation
happening for a student at the elementary school where I was teaching. She was 6 years old and
in grade 1 and already experiencing the terror associated with public washrooms that those of
us who present in any way interpreted as *gender queer know all too well. Having now
graduated from kindergarten with its single stall, self-contained washroom, she found herself
forced to choose which washroom to use and as such, to play the game of identifying clearly for
everyone else as either male OR female. In doing so, she was also immediately subjected to the
fierce opinions of every other washroom goer who thinks they know what a “boy” or a “girl” is
supposed to look like. Speaking from personal experience, this is an awful choice to have to
make several times a day in order to protect yourself physically and emotionally when really –
you just want to pee.

Although I really should have known better, I was initially surprised that the same sort of
bullying and harassment I experienced the previous year as a teacher at a TDSB middle school
in a very divisive and conservative community was happening here at this socially liberal, and
purportedly “*queer friendly” elementary school… But here’s the thing – the thing that really
hit home and painfully deep for me when I saw all of these experiences that I have had mostly
as an adult played out in the life of a 6 year old child; being “ok” with, or even accepting of, or
even identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or any other form of “queer” in regards to sexuality
does not mean that a person understands, supports, or even wants to THINK about queering
*gender… About the fact that we live in a world where there are way more than two genders.

In my own experience, I have found that the queer community at large is at best equally
dragged down by the systemic effects of sexism in our society as those who do not self-identify
as a part of it. When we talk about whether a person, regardless of age, looks or acts “male
enough” or “female enough” to be “normal”, what we are really talking about is which of two
genders we have been taught to believe exist has an innate right to greater power and WHO by
extension is crossing the line in either direction and deserves to be brought down as a result.
What we often don’t acknowledge, even to ourselves, is that we are also talking about the
intersections between race, class, ability, sexuality and gender identity… but we are. As
teachers and/or parents and/or adults who have been through the school system ourselves, we
cannot deny knowing that a good deal of this “bringing down”, denial and glossing over begins
in classrooms and schoolyards.

Frankly, I don’t give a moment’s credibility to anyone who dismisses the need for us as adults in
society today to critically assess our progress in facilitating positive change for the next
generation. Any naïveté or reluctance to stand up that I had around that reality changed the day
that I saw those other 6 year old girls tell the one with the short hair, cargo pants and
basketball t-shirt that she couldn’t be a girl and go into the girl’s washroom unless she had her
“pink”… This conviction further solidified and then stuck way-deep-down in my gut later that
year when her mother told me that she still didn’t go to the bathroom all day at school because
individual interventions that had not been framed by widespread preventative education
across the board at the primary grade levels were not making an ounce of difference in her
kid’s life… Did you know that the rates of school drop out, self-harm, homelessness,

                                                                                                 6
underemployment and attempted suicide for people who identify somewhere along the spectrum
of *gender variant are well above the national average in Canada?... So please do not tell
yourself that all the work has been done.

That is why I made this video. Partially I did it because art is something that I know how to do
and it made ME feel better. It was comforting to use the only language that I know solidly in my
bones to let out all of my own rage and hurt and longing as a 6-year-old small person and put it
into something active and beauty-full. Partially I did it because I really believe that it is not only
“ok”, but actually essential to teach very young kids about what *sexism is and how that
informs all sorts of oppressions in our society, including (but certainly not limited to)
*homophobia and *transphobia… How we ALL – no matter how young or how socially
conscious – are complicit in the perpetuation of stereotypes unless we continuously and
actively challenge the way that they play out inside of and around us every day.

This is where I’d like to call particularly to those among us – and I readily include myself in this
invitation – who are already committed to teaching through an anti-oppression framework; the
fact that we are aware that it is indeed possible to teach the government legislated
curriculum through an anti-oppression framework is a really good thing… Using the
knowledge of our own awareness as an excuse to talk about what we learned in the way
that we understood it ten years ago and to neither ACT on what we know nor to continue to
challenge ourselves to learn more – to know deeper and broader – is much less good. For
example, we need first to have an honest discussion with our private selves about our own
stereotypes concerning *gender presentation before we can even begin to understand that we
may not actually know a whole lot about a person’s experience with *gender identity just by
looking at them. Similarly, I cannot purport to have any lived experience of how a trans person
who must also deal with racism directed towards them on a daily basis experiences
transphobia, but I can, for starters, invite the awareness of this gap in deep understanding to
directly inform the place that I DO speak from… It is not everything and it is not in any way
enough, but it is way better than not starting at all. I say this because all of this personal work
can seem terribly disheartening and perhaps even adequate reasoning to throw up your hands
and choose to do nothing at all…ever. This is of course an option, but allow me to suggest
alongside that possibility that our role as educators is never to understand all of everything we
aim to “teach” our students. In fact, the belief that this complete knowing is even possible is
most likely to become the place where a well-intentioned anti-oppression framework becomes
disingenuous.

A couple of years ago, I was teaching a grade 5 math class and was half way through my first
long division example on the blackboard before I realized that I actually had no recollection of
how to DO long division. My knee-jerk reaction was to scramble internally and figure out how I
could possibly cover up my ignorance and what I believed to be a massive faux pas in my role
as “teacher”. Luckily, the gap in my knowledge was actually SO great that the only thing I could
realistically do was to sheepishly let my students know that I didn’t understand as much about
the topic as I thought that I had… that I was going to need a few minutes figure it out myself
before working through the next steps with them. I say luckily because that accidental
experience was probably one of the most useful moments of teaching/learning that I have ever
had. It was the acknowledgement of what I didn’t know and the demonstration of actively
choosing to fill my own gaps in knowledge with no significant shame attached to the action that
my students later told me helped to build trust between us. Please believe me when I say that

                                                                                                    7
the same can be true for teaching about sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, *classism
and/or *ableism…. You do not have to be an expert on anything other than the dialogue
that is going on inside of your own brain in regards to the material you are presenting. As
I am sure you already know, kids are remarkably intuitive and it is their perception of how
genuine the person presenting the lesson IS that will end up overshadowing the content itself if
fear and shame is left unchecked.

This video does nothing close to directly addressing all of those complicated intersections
referred to above. Actually, watched in isolation, particularly with the absence of discussion, it
may not hit on any of them for some folks. It really depends on the personal experiences of
those watching it, which will be affected and enriched as much by the discussion that the
content sparks as by the video itself. I made this video so that elementary school teachers
would have something concrete at their disposal that would help them to START and facilitate
such a discussion amongst their students. As a teacher myself, I have been frustrated by the
lack of resources dealing with homophobia, transphobia and even gender stereotypes for this
age group… For example, we are often warned off of going anywhere near words containing the
syllable “sex” when teaching the primary/junior grades, even if it is referring to an aspect of
gender identity as opposed to the act of intercourse. Case and point: the fact that the newly
revised Sex Education Curriculum that a provincial task force spend over a year developing in
order to introduce to Ontario public schools in 2010 lasted all of 2 days before Premier Dalton
McGuinty caved to the pressure of conservative special interest groups and recalled it for
“serious rethinking.”1 Apparently it is ok for 6-year-old kids to act out socially and aggressively
on the belief that you are not actually a girl if you don’t like pink, but it is NOT ok for them to
learn what sexism, homophobia and transphobia are and how they actually hurt people.
Despite the lack of support and leadership that we have seen repeatedly on a policy reform
level, we as teachers are innately creative and resourceful individuals who have a responsibility
to challenge the status quo. As such, I created a teacher resource to accompany the both/and
video that very clearly links to specific points in the health education, language and visual arts
curriculums for Kindergarten to Grade 6 (such as they are).c.2011

I don’t know if this resource made any difference at all in the short term for the child whose
struggle inspired me to develop it, but I sincerely hope that as it is dispersed it will become part
of a growing call among educators to stand UP, engage, and reject complacency. There is no
doubt in my mind that if these ideas and images are shared with diverse groups of young
people they will be taken up, discussed, and then radically re-formed by that audience in a way
that I as a white, middle class, able-bodied, *transgendered adult could not even hope to
anticipate. That is the way that it should be. Positive and sustainable social change through
education begins with trust. Primarily, this should be the genuine trust that teachers have the
power to give to their students that not only “allows,” but also empowers them to think and act
for themselves in reference to the reality of their own lives. All that is required to begin down
this path is to sit softly and deeply in ourselves – and then listen to them.




1   Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, CBC News, Friday, April 23, 2010

                                                                                                  8
 overview
 easy guide to grade specific links to the Ontario Curriculum




                                                                 9
curriculum connections:
overview
“Young children begin their personal and social development by learning about
themselves, about themselves in relationship to others, and about themselves in relation
to the world”2

This quote concisely describes how teachers can present a social issue to kindergarten-aged
students in a developmentally appropriate context. I chose it to begin the overall introduction
to curriculum connections for all primary-junior grades because it is also provides a very
relevant framework for how human consciousness learns and grows at any age. The role of the
teacher here is one of organizing and facilitating followed by watching, learning and responding
to the needs that arise for the specific group of learners in front of them. When someone is able
to gently guide us in understanding more of ourselves, the increased ease and comfort that
results from that knowing in turn opens up the emotional space needed to feel genuine
empathy and compassion for others. I have therefore organized the lesson plans for each of the
early learner, primary, and junior sections of this curriculum into three steps that are intended
to mirror the way that self-acceptance facilitates one’s deep belief in the right of any individual
to “imagine a world where anyone can safely, and even joyfully, express themselves in the way
they’ve always wanted to.”3 The content of the lesson plans for all grade levels are quite similar
in process and intention. I have adjusted the methodology, timing, project extensions, and in
some cases the nature of the preparatory work in order to ensure that activities are age
appropriate. The subject matter naturally brings up different topics and qualities of
conversation with each age group, which can be especially interesting if many teachers in a
school team get together to compare and contrast experiences. I have had success with
variations of these ideas at many grade levels. *Each of the three lesson plan sections
contains all of the same explanatory materials. Therefore, if you wish to just print off the
section that pertains to the grade level you teach, this can be more easily accomplished. My
basic approach to planning lessons at each developmental level is as follows;

    1) Introduce a core aspect of the issue that kids can begin to relate to from an egocentric
       view of the world. Help to develop their personal connection to that idea through an
       individual, arts-based activity.

    2) Use the results of that creative activity to start a discussion among students. Employ the
       personal artwork that they have created as a visual and conceptual aid to highlighting
       similarities and differences between individual experiences.

    3) Facilitate a transition in the style of interaction so that talk between and about
       individuals can open up into more of a group planning session as to how a community
       can use collective commitment to make positive social change happen in the world
       around them. Re-engage with arts-based approaches in order to articulate the group’s
       collective vision for positive social change.
2 from the Ontario Ministry of Education Full Day Early Learning – Kindergarten Program document, 2010-2011, draft
version, Personal and Social Development Overview, p.48.
3 from 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, Kate Bornstein, 7 Stories Press, 2006 – used by Lee

Hicks with permission of the author and the publisher, both/and, 2010

                                                                                                                        10
Each of these 3-part lesson sets is intended to assist a class community in moving towards
greater personal awareness in the interest actual social action. That action itself is not
something that I can write about in good conscience or with any authority because to do so
would feel akin to pre-cutting a class set of bunny ears, whiskers and paper plates and then
using my own example version of said paper-plate-bunny to impress upon 5 year–olds what
their own paper-plate-bunny “should” look like… you know?

As I stated in my introduction, “there is no doubt in my mind that if these ideas and images are
shared with diverse groups of young people they will be taken up, discussed, and then radically re-
formed by that audience in a way that (I) could not even hope to anticipate. That is the way that it
should be.” I will suggest at the end of each of the Early Learning – Kindergarten, Primary and
Junior lesson plan sections how one might choose to enter into further discussion with their
students in a way that would facilitate collective planning of a social action that is based on
their specific response to this video resource. The role of each educator at that point will be to
listen closely in order to discern what is truly igniting the passions of their class, and then to
assist their students in forming a plan that will honour their optimism manageably and
ethically.




                                                                                                 11
   guide to grade-specific curriculum links * Ontario specific
                               subject       lesson reference points         overall expectations        specific expectations
early learner - kindergarten




                               PERSONAL       students will directly        3. demonstrate a            3.1 develop empathy for
                               AND SOCIAL       address the way that         beginning understanding     others, and acknowledge
                               DEVELOPMENT      they and others are          of the diversity in         and respond to feelings.
                                                affected by stereotypes,     individuals, families,      3.2 demonstrate respect and
                                                and work together to         schools, and the wider      consideration for individual
                                                imagine a better world.      community.                  differences / points of view.
                               LANGUAGE      Throughout the process of       1. communicate by           1.2 listen and respond to
                                             watching the both/and video     talking and by listening    others for a variety of
                                             and responding to it with       and speaking to others      purposes.
                                             arts-based approaches;          for a variety of purposes   1.5 use language in various
                                              students will work            and in a variety of         contexts to connect new
                                                together to practice         contexts.                   experiences with what they
                                                articulating their ideas                                 already know.
                                                verbally; actively listen                                1.9 describe personal
                                                to others in order to give                               experiences, using
                                                relevant feedback;                                       appropriate vocabulary and
                                                respond with                                             details.
                                                comments/questions.
                                              students will discuss the     5. demonstrate a            5.1 begin to respond
                                                connections between          beginning understanding     critically to animated works.
                                                content in video media,      and critical awareness of   5.2 communicate their ideas
                                                picture books, and their     media texts.                verbally and non-verbally
                                                own experiences.                                         about a variety of media
                                                                                                         materials.
                               MATH           students will learn and       G3. describe, sort,         G3.1 explore, sort, and
                                               practice methods of           classify, and compare 2D    compare traditional and
                                               sorting and                   shapes and 3D figures.      non-traditional
                                               classification through                                    2D shapes and 3D figures.
                                               the practical necessity of                                G3.5 investigate the
                                               organizing the quantity                                   relationship between two-
                                               of found objects that                                     dimensional shapes and
                                               they collect and use as a                                 three-dimensional figures in
                                               medium for visual                                         objects that they have made.
                                               expression.                   DM5. sort, classify, and    DM5.1 sort, classify, and
                                                                             display a variety of        compare objects and
                                                                             concrete objects.           describe the attributes used.
                               PHYSICAL       topics of bullying and        1. demonstrate an           1.4 discuss what action to
                               AND HEALTH       stereotypes in relation      awareness of health and     take when they feel unsafe
                               EDUCATION        to gender and other          safety practices for        or uncomfortable, and how
                                                assumptions about            themselves and others       to seek assistance in unsafe
                                                identity are confronted      and a basic awareness of    situations.
                                                and re-thought.              their own well being.       1.5 discuss what makes you
                                                                                                         happy or unhappy, and why.
                               VISUAL ART     students will use             V1. demonstrate an          V1.1 demonstrate an
                                               drawing to express their      awareness of themselves     awareness of personal
                                               understanding of them-        as artists.                 interests and a sense of
                                               selves; referring to both                                 accomplishment in the arts.
                                               their own imaginations        V5. communicate their       V5.1 communicate their
                                               and a 3D construction         ideas through various       understanding of something
                                               that they create.             visual art forms.           through visual media.


                                                                                                                                  12
primary – grades 1 to 3   subject    lesson reference points             overall expectations          specific expectations
                          LANGUAGE    students will work together to    O1. Listen in order to        1.2 demonstrate an
                                       practice articulating their       understand and respond        understanding of
                                       ideas verbally; actively listen   appropriately to a            appropriate listening
                                       in order to discuss/respond       variety of situations.        behaviour by using active
                                       relevantly with others.                                         listening strategies.
                                      students discuss connections      M1. demonstrate an            1.3 express personal
                                       between content in video          understanding of a            thoughts and feelings
                                       media, picture books, and         variety of media texts.       1.5 begin to identify whose
                                       their own experiences.                                          point of view is expressed.
                          MATH        students will learn/practice      GS1. identify common 2D       Sort and classify objects by
                                       methods of sorting and            shapes and 3D figures         their attributes using a
                                       classification as they find and   and sort and classify         combination concrete
                                       organize objects for use as a     them by attributes.           materials and pictorial
                                       medium for visual expression.                                   representations.
                          HEALTH      topics of bullying and            HEALTHY LIVING:               GRADE 1 – C2.3
                                       stereotypes in relation to        C2. demonstrate the           demonstrate the ability to
                                       gender and other assumptions      ability to make reasoned      recognize caring behaviours
                                       that restrict positive identity   decisions and take            and exploitive behaviours
                                       development are confronted,       appropriate actions           and describe feelings
                                       analyzed critically and re-       relating to their personal    associated.
                                       thought.                          health/well-being;            GRADE 2 – C2.3
                                                                         C3. demonstrate the           looking at the importance of
                                      strategies for safe and
                                                                         ability to make               standing up for oneself.
                                       effective social action are
                                                                         connections; how their        GRADE 3 – C3.2
                                       discussed.
                                                                         choices/behaviours affect     explain how the portrayal of
                                      plans are made for activism       themselves and others,        fictional violence in media
                                       and change.                       and how factors in the        can create an unrealistic
                                                                         world around them affect      view of the consequences of
                                                                         their own and others’         real violence.
                                                                         health and well being.
                          ART         students will use drawing and     D1. produce a variety of      D1.1 create 2D and 3D
                                       other media to express their      2D and 3D art works           works of art that express
                                       understanding of themselves;      using visual arts to          and explore feelings ideas
                                       referring to both their own       communicate feelings,         and issues from a variety of
                                       imaginations and an actual 3D     ideas, and understanding.     points of view.
                                       construction that they create.    D2. communicate feelings      D2.1 interpret a variety of
                                      discuss understanding of          ideas and understandings      art works and identify
                                       visual media presented to         in response to a variety of   feelings, issues, themes and
                                       them and incorporate their        artworks and                  social concerns that they
                                       understanding into their          experiences.                  convey.
                                       personal arts-based response.                                   D2.2 explain how meaning is
                                                                                                       created and communicated
                                                                                                       in their own and others’
                                                                                                       artwork.




                                                                                                                                13
junior – grades 4 to 6   subject    lesson reference points               overall expectations          specific expectations
                         LANGUAGE    students will work together to      O1. Listen in order to        1.2 demonstrate an
                                      practice articulating their         understand and respond        understanding of
                                      ideas verbally;                     appropriately to a            appropriate listening
                                     they will actively listen in        variety of situations         behaviour by using active
                                      order to discuss and respond        including group work          listening strategies.
                                      relevantly to others.               O2. use speaking skills       2.2 demonstrate appropriate
                                     students will discuss               and strategies to             speaking behaviour in
                                      connections between content         communicate with              paired sharing and small-
                                      in video media, picture books,      different audiences.          and large-group discussions
                                      and their own experiences.          M1. demonstrate an            1.3 express opinions about
                                     students will begin to consider     understanding of a            ideas and issues in media
                                      bias in the media and how the       variety of media texts.       1.5 identify whose point of
                                      agenda of the author affects                                      view is presented or
                                      the quality and accuracy of the                                   reflected, suggesting how
                                      message portrayed.                                                the text might change from a
                                                                                                        different point of view and
                                                                                                        whose perspective is missing
                         HEALTH      topics of bullying and              HEALTHY LIVING:               GRADE 4 – C1.3 describe
                                        stereotypes in relation to        C2. demonstrate the           various types of bullying and
                                        gender and other assumptions      ability to make reasoned      abuse (e.g., social, physical,
                                        that restrict positive identity   decisions and take            verbal) and identify
                                        development are confronted,       appropriate actions           appropriate responses.
                                        addressed and re-thought.         relating to their personal    GRADE 2 – C1.1 identify
                                                                          health/well-being;            people and supportive
                                       strategies for safe and
                                                                          C3. demonstrate the           services that can assist with
                                        effective social action are
                                                                          ability to make               bullying + abusive situations.
                                        discussed.
                                                                          connections; how their        GRADE 6 – C3.2 Learning
                                       plans are made for activism       choices and behaviours        about responsibilities and
                                        and change.                       as well as factors in the     risks in caring for oneself
                                                                          world affect themselves       and others.
                                                                          and others.
                                                                          GROWTH AND                    GRADE 5
                                                                          DEVELOPMENT:                  Describe the physical
                                                                          Describe physical,            changes at puberty.
                                                                          emotional, and                GRADE 6
                                                                          interpersonal changes         Relate the changes at
                                                                          associated with puberty.      puberty to the reproductive
                                                                          Identify the major parts of   organs and their functions;
                                                                          the reproductive system.
                         ART         students will use drawing and       D1. produce a variety of      D1.1 create 2D and 3D
                                      other media to express their        2D ,3D and multi-media        works of art that express
                                      understanding of themselves;        art works using visual        personal feelings and ideas
                                      referring to their own              arts to communicate           inspired by their own
                                      imaginations and a 3D               feelings, ideas, and          experiences and incorporate
                                      construction that they create.      understanding.                the community around them.
                                     discuss understanding of            D2. communicate feelings      D2.1 express their feelings
                                      visual media presented to           ideas and understandings      and ideas about art works
                                      them and incorporate their          in response to a variety of   and art experiences.
                                      understanding into their            artworks and                  D2.2 explain how meaning is
                                      personal arts-based response.       experiences.                  created in their own and
                                                                                                        others’ artwork.




                                                                                                                                 14
 general introduction
 first things first – building a classroom community worth trusting
 early learner – kindergarten program
 primary – grades 1 to 3
 junior – grades 4 to 6




                                                                       15
lesson plans
general introduction
                                                      step one: the video
                                                      watching, listening and discussing:
                                                      This video runs 13.5 minutes in duration. It takes
                                                      approximately the same amount of time to watch in
                                                      its entirety as it would to read a medium-length
                                                      picture book aloud. I am aware however that it can
                                                      be very tempting as a classroom teacher to capitalize
                                                      on the benefits of a medium that you do not need to
                                                      personally help “come to life”. What I mean by this is
                                                      that a video, unlike a storybook, is something that
                                                      you could conceivably press “play” to begin and then
                                                      sit quietly off to the side breathing in a few minutes
                                                      of sanity while your students enjoy the show…

No one who has been there – least of all me – would blame you for this. At the same time, I am
also going to both suggest and apologize for the fact that this is not that kind of video. It is not
fast moving. There are no fancy visual or sound effects. The text-based message is small and
appears both on screen and in audio, but the content in its entirety is not so simple or
straightforward. These are the pieces that make it challenging… At the same time, it has built in
pauses in “action” that allow for discussion and ambiguities in the characters’ presentation that
inspire it. These are the pieces that make it different and – I hope – effective in opening up a
unique reflective space for students and teachers to engage safely with issues of stereotyping,
labeling, loneliness, bullying, sexism and transphobia at the elementary school level.

In many ways, this “video” actually has many more similarities to a traditional storybook than it
does to new media. I am a painter not an animator and as such, the transition of images often
reads like the turning of digital pages… the voice over as a story read aloud. As a classroom
teacher, I have found that my time is best spent observing and listening to the students as they
interact with the video because it gives me real and relevant ground to stand on later when
attempting to facilitate intentional group discussion. I will often take notes of to remind myself
of their comments and behaviour… This is where the learning is. Overall, in screening this
resource with Junior Kindergarten classes right up to Grade 6 over the past two years, I have
noticed that when the students are allowed to follow their natural tendency towards voicing
their thoughts during the pauses, they are more able to stay focused on the storyline and later
have an easier time organizing their ideas both visually and orally.

Javier Davila of the Office for Gender Based Violence Prevention at the Toronto District School
Board has also been using both/and in workshops with elementary aged students and has
observed the way that children themselves are deciding the resource should be used;
“The thoughtful musical interludes were a perfect opportunity for small student
discussions throughout. For example; “The person must be a girl because of their long
eyelashes"… "No some boys have long eyelashes and some girls don't, so we don't know"… "Maybe
the person can't read the bathroom sign?"… "No, they can read it, they just don't want to be
bullied for picking the one they want to go in."
- Javier Davila and the students of a TDSB grade 2 class, 2011

                                                                                                           16
 first things first
taking the time to build a classroom community worth trusting

Respect is something that every-thing on earth innately deserves due to the very significant fact
of its existence… Trust on the other hand can and should be earned. It has been my experience,
especially with junior grades, that the two must go hand-in-hand if you as an educator have any
desire to build authentic, sustainable, loving community with your students. In other words,
this dynamic can never be laid out as a one-way street, i.e. “you should trust me because I am
your teacher but you, as the student, need to EARN my trust.”

When I speak of “loving community” in the classroom, I am thinking about the kind of love –
and more importantly, the kind of explicit teaching of love – that Bell Hooks writes so accessibly
about in her book All About Love;

“Imagine how much easier it would be for us to learn how to love if we began with a shared
definition. The word “love” is most often defined as a noun, yet all the more astute theorists of love
acknowledge that we would all love better if we used it as a verb… M.Scott Peck (echoing Erich
Fromm) defines love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own
or another’s spiritual growth”… Had I been given a clear definition of love earlier in my life, it
would not have taken me so long to become a more loving person. Had I shared with others a
common understanding of what it means to love it would have been easier to create love.” 4

I am writing about trust and love in the “students’ prior knowledge” section of this
curriculum because the way that this material plays itself out in your particular classroom will
have a lot to do with how safe your students feel about sharing aspects of their most genuine
selves with one another and with you. This is especially true with older kids because
unfortunately, by the time they get to you way too many of them have already been hurt deeply
and personally within the education system. I always spend at least three weeks at the
beginning of a new school year working through intentional community building and trust
based activities with my students… This often shocks colleagues who fear “wasting time when
there is so much else that we have to cover as classroom teachers”… I have two quick points in
response to this concern, and will leave the rest up to your discretion;

       1. However you personally choose to go about it, the intentional and collaborative
          construction of loving community in your classroom will save you immeasurable
          amounts of time attempting to fix what is not working with classroom dynamics if
          you don’t do this.

       2. Taking care to consider the interior lives, social dynamics, and feelings of your
          students is not something “else” to find time for in addition to the “regular”
          curriculum… They are one and the same… really and truly… I promise.




4   ALL ABOUT LOVE: New Visions, Harper Pernnial, Bell Hooks, 2000, pages 4-11

                                                                                                   17
early learner – kindergarten program5
general introduction

“Four- and five-year-old children move beyond an egocentric view of the world and can
learn to resolve conflicts and make decisions collaboratively and can develop a sense of
community… As children learn about themselves and their culture, they also begin to
understand that all people share similar needs, feelings and aspirations... They begin to
develop understanding of the concepts of equality, fairness, tolerance, and justice…”6

I used the above quote from the Ministry of Education Early Learner-Kindergarten Program
document to introduce this section because I think it does a good job of honouring what
children of this age are in fact developmentally capable of understanding and internalizing
when it comes to issues of social justice. I cut it off where I did because the next line reads as
follows; “…in relation to the treatment of minority groups, individuals of both sexes, people
with special needs and those with diverse family structures.”

I have often heard adults justify their support of gender stereotyped teaching practices at the
kindergarten level with statements like, “but that’s when children are figuring out whether they
are a boy or a girl.” Essentially, this perspective is a full-out defense of why it is ok to not only
stereotype children, but to stereotype them based on our perception of their gender identity as
opposed to their own. I find this argument counter-intuitive at best. What I mean by this is that
we still live in a society where common language and practices assume that boys are always
born in bodies that we recognize and “male” and girls are always born in bodies that we
recognize as “female”. If we as educators continue to focus children as “girls and boys” as
opposed to people sharing similar needs, feelings and aspirations, it doesn’t actually matter how
progressive our ideas are in regards to the kinds of activities we think will be of interest to
either gender because our practice and the language with which we impart it will remain
entrenched in the belief that there are only two genders.

A language reflects the perceptions of the culture in which it develops and vice-versa, which is
why the idea of completely reforming the way that we as a culture think and speak about
gender is daunting, at best. What better place to try though, than Kindergarten? Those of us
who have taught this age group in particular understand how quickly young children learn and
how magnificently open and receptive they are to challenging and changing their own
perceptions. Imagine an entire class of 4-5 year olds who see, accept and love one another for
who they actually are as human beings… Now imagine an entire school, 6-8 years later, with
this class and every one thereafter having built a sense of themselves and others on the
foundation of this early education...

Now imagine a future built by these children….
Change takes time.
Why not start now?

5The Early Learner – Kindergarten Program was revised to respond to the needs of the new full-day kindergarten initiative in
Ontario. When I finalized this curriculum in the summer of 2011, the most recent version available online was the 2010-2011
draft version from the Ontario Ministry of Education.
6 from the Ontario Ministry of Education Full Day Early Learning – Kindergarten Program document, 2010-2011, draft
version, Personal and Social Development Overview, p.50.

                                                                                                                        18
early learner – kindergarten program
overview of curriculum

Part One of this lesson set involves 3 pieces of preparatory work that should be completed
before the video is screened. These are intended to establish prior knowledge. There are then 3
more lessons for the class to work though after they have watched the video together. These
lessons start at the place of “self” and are designed to help children develop a personal
connection to the concept of pride, self-identity, and the celebration of differences through an
individual, arts-based activity.

Preparatory work is described as an overview in “students prior knowledge” and all sources
used are detailed in “resources.” The 3 lessons following the video screening will be referred
to as lesson a), lesson b) and lesson c) and will be looked at in greater detail under the
headings “lesson summaries”, “materials list”, “preparation” and “methodology and
timing.”

Part Two consists of one lesson in which the personal artwork that the students completed in
Part One becomes a starting place for conversation in response to the both/and video
resource. The discussion progresses more deeply into what the students are thinking about the
similarities and differences between the individual experiences and identities among them.

Part Three is an opportunity to facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals
to more of a group planning session that addresses how we as a community can make positive
social change happen in the world around us. It involves 2 initial lessons that will support
planning and open up space for individualized activities to develop. I will describe an example
of how this might occur, but encourage individual teachers to watch and listen to the unique
discussions in their own classrooms so as to move into action and activism with authenticity
and increased potential for sustainability.

Documenting images referred to throughout the lesson plans are labeled accordingly and can
be viewed at the end of the curriculum section on pages 58 – 62.




                                                                                             19
grades: Junior and Senior Kindergarten
RESPONSE TO both/and
students’ prior knowledge
1. BEAUTIFUL STUFF:
My approach to portrait making as a self-reflective process with kids has been inspired partially through ideas
from a book called BEAUTIFUL STUFF: Learning With Found Materials. The actual beautiful stuff (aside from
what the kids themselves create) refers to all manner of found, re-used and recycled items that everyone in the
class community collects and brings to school with the intention of sharing. Further details on that philosophy and
related projects can be found in this book, which is by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini. In this section I will
summarize what I did with my kindergarten class to collect, sort, and create with found materials and will focus on
planning for a self-portrait project in response to the both/and video.

Approximately two weeks prior to actually needing a good supply of found materials to work with in class, I
introduced the idea of “beautiful stuff” to the class as basically, “any kind of small object or materials that you
can find which is not living, is not belonging to anyone else, and is not already being used for something
that it is essential to….“Beautiful” on the other hand, has few restrictions. It is whatever that idea means to
you… You may like to look or the size or the shape or the feel of it… It may make you feel happy, or just feel
something in a way that you find beautiful… No one else gets to decide what is beautiful to you.” We had an
introductory class discussion about this, and I demonstrated the idea of beauty being subjective and individual by
showing the students a few found objects from my collection and explaining why I like them… Students then
volunteered to share their own past experiences with having found and/or saved interesting and “beautiful”
objects. At the end of this day, I sent each child home with a large, sturdy paper bag and a letter to families
explaining what we were aiming to do over the next couple of weeks, why, and the date that we would need to
have the materials collected and delivered to the classroom by.

2. THE SORTING OF THE STUFF:
On the day that the beautiful stuff collection was completed and delivered, we had an “Opening of the Bags”
ceremony in the classroom. We began with a bit of fun and mock-seriousness with a, “please-repeat-after-me-I-will-
not-forget-myself-completely-and-dive-IN-to-the-pile-of-beautiful-stuff-no-matter-HOW-amazingly-beautiful-it-is”
pledge. This worked well.

Each student in turn came to the center of the big circle we were seated in to dump the contents of their careful
collection out for all to see and exclaim over… If they chose to, they pointed out a couple of particularly amazing
items and told the details of how they had found them and why they loved them. When each student had
contributed their stash and their stories to the pile, we began to talk about HOW we would sort them.

We did the sorting itself rather “organically” (and by this, I mean quite seriously that I had no idea how it was going
to go before we actually did it). The trial and error DID work though, and took place essentially like this;
 lay out all of the empty containers in a row of sorts;
 someone suggests a category and takes an example item from the big pile to “file” into a new container;
 the process is repeated until all categories that the class suggests have been assigned to their own container;
 individuals or small groups work to find and collect all of the items from the pile that fit into a certain category
 once the initial sorting is complete, there are inevitably overlapping categories that can be sorted out through
    discussion, consensus, and/or any other semi-democratic method that works for you and your class.

*Prior to this day, the class had been working on sorting and categorizing objects in a variety of contexts, so
they were already familiar with different ways that “stuff” could be organized in relation to one another.

At the time that I first did this project with Kindergarten-aged kids, I had both a morning and an afternoon class.
We managed to work very amiably and seamlessly together to share all the materials and collaborate on
organizational tasks because right from day one, all of the students understood that anything they chose to bring
in would be something that they wanted to SHARE… and that this sharing would extend to the whole kindergarten
community, not just their own classmates. Surprisingly (even to me) this resulted in a pretty chilled-out approach to
use of this magnificent collection by all students. For example, on the day of the bag-opening ceremony, my


                                                                                                                   20
morning class decided on 17 categories to sort and categorize their items… When the afternoon class arrived and
it was time to sort their materials, they decided that they would like to keep these same categories and mix all of
the “stuff” together but that a few things needed to be adjusted for the different items they had brought. Their
solution was then to add 5 more categories for a total of 22 that would accommodate all the materials from both
groups together.

3. LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself
When teaching about self-portraiture, regardless of the age group, I start by suggesting that as human beings, we
all have things that we know about ourselves that seem similar to other people as well as things that seem very
different. Humans generally like at least some of the “same” things about ourselves, and some of the “different”
things, but there may also be parts that we spend time not liking at all. Often, we spend time not liking certain
parts because we are under the impression that they are either TOO much the same, or TOO different from other
people that we want to be accepted by. The very funny truth of all this is that every other human around us is
struggling with the same worries…. every single one… and the thing that they really want most of all is to be
celebrated for who they are most naturally. Just like you. So, the thing is then that this one similarity – this key
vulnerability about being human and living well in community – is really the only thing we need to worry about
knowing when we take the risk of showing ourselves fully to other people;
It means that the way that YOU do it is exactly perfect, exactly now for you, and
the way that they do it is exactly perfect for them….
That goes for drawing,
and for BEing.

“MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
we want to love
and be loved.”7

This doesn’t mean fear of being rejected is not scary…. it means that in THIS group at the very least, we are going
to try to remember that EVERYONE – even you – is being the very best self that they can be and that it is an honour
to have someone share their best self with you. I then ask everyone to please remember to accept this honour
with thanks and respect for themselves and each of their classmates.

The truth is that I begin facilitating the development of this language of positive, supportive community building in
the classroom on day one of the school year because it really can’t happen all at once. Before you can expect kids to
share honestly about themselves with others, there needs to be a clear expectation of care and safety that we all
hold one another to. With younger children, you as the classroom teacher start out doing a lot of the “holding” so
to speak... As kids get older though, a very beautiful thing can occur whereby they start to expect love and
acceptance within their community and can actually call each other out when an individual acts in ways that go
against that expectation. It is an incredible moment to witness as an educator.

Risking showing more of ourselves to others is what self-portraiture does essentially – and that is why I have
found learning about self-portraits to be a good way of opening peoples’ brains wide enough to see and experience
the both/and video in a different way. As I will detail in PART ONE of the lesson plan; going through the process
of making and then sharing a self-portrait with classmates can help build a language through which even the
youngest learners can consolidate and articulate an understanding of how important it is for everyone to be seen
and accepted as themselves in the world… For me, a significant goal here is to help more children experience
acceptance and celebration of their true selves consistently, and early in life. Among other obvious benefits, I have
hope that a basic infusion of genuine love to this generation of 3, 4 and 5 year-olds will support the development of
a future adult population that is much more likely to put energy into fostering deep, loving community for others.

Perhaps this seems like a lot of theoretical preamble but, just as I think it is essential for kids to understand WHY
they are doing something in order for them to actually be invested in learning from it, it is important for me as an
educator to be clear on why I am teaching the content that I do. The grand majority of preparation that I do as a
classroom teacher is the work of unpacking my own intentions for myself. As in, “why am I personally invested in
planning this particular lesson in the way that I am planning it and, why is it that I am choosing to teach this
concept with this process in the first place?” As elementary school teachers, we know through much experience


7   From THE SKILLS AND PRINCIPLES OF LOVING, Shalom Mountain Sacred Retreat Centre.

                                                                                                                 21
that “The Best Laid Plans” for the step-by-step/how-to of something can mean very little in practical terms when
you don’t have money for the right kind of paper or your lesson is interrupted by a fire drill. It is way easier to get
back on track and not even worry about all that however, if you know why it is that you began and where you are
heading. That being said;

“the potential step-by-step”:
    1.   I use an OLIVER JEFFERS book – my favourite is Lost and Found – to introduce self-portraiture to young
         children because in the back of every one of the magnificent stories that he both writes and illustrates,
         there is an old photograph of Jeffers himself between the ages of about 3 and 6… Aside from the fact that
         he is brimming over with impish magnificence, these photos generally bear a striking resemblance to the
         small human protagonist in the story (and often he is wearing some sort of fantastic outfit that I wish came
         in my size). The outfit IS important to the project beyond my own fashion sense however, because I then
         show the class a picture of little Oliver beside the character that he has drawn in reference to himself so
         that we can notice and discuss the similarities. The best thing about his drawing style is that it is often
         simple shapes that are easy to break down and to demonstrate. In Lost and Found, he wears a very
         similar toque in both images and has drawn himself in an enviable stripey t-shirt.

    2.   I then talk about a favourite t-shirt of mine, picking one that I feel expresses something about myself I
         would like to share with others. For example, I once chose a black t-shirt that I had sewn a puffy, pink-
         striped giraffe on to – transplanted from another shirt that I did not like. I explained that I like it because
         sometimes people say that “pink is a girl colour,” but I identify as male, and I like pink…. I also like it
         because I sewed it myself (another non-traditional but perfectly awesome pastime for men). I used my
         creativity to make something that works for me and that helps me to feel most “myself” when I wear it..

    3.   As I describe my shirt for the class, I am also drawing it onto chart paper that I have set up so that
         everyone can see. When I am done drawing the t-shirt itself with all of the pertinent details, I ask the class
         to help in drawing the rest of me by asking what other pieces are missing to make the picture look “like”
         me… what shapes they think those pieces should be… what placement in relation to one another – right
         down to 8 visible piercings and 3 tattoos. They are often very concerned about these details in particular!
         By doing this part of the process collaboratively, you are giving the kids a low-pressure
         opportunity to witness someone drawing a self-portrait step-by-step, and to begin participating in
         that process themselves to whatever degree they feel comfortable at first.

    4.   Once the demonstration self-portrait of myself is done, I ask the class members to all take a minute, close
         their eyes, and think carefully about the outfit that they either have or wish they had to best describe their
         true self… We will save the sharing of these ideas for the next day, just before watching the both/and
         video and commencing the self-portrait creating.

    5.   Directly after the idea of “what do you most want to draw yourself wearing” has been suggested into the
         students’ brains, I read them 10 000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. This book is about a kid named Bailey
         who happens to be born in a body that people read as “boy”. She dreams of all of the dresses that she
         would wear if she could make what she saw in her head…. and if her family would realize that actually –
         she is a girl on the inside. Following this reading, there are lots of different directions that the discussion
         may go, all of which can provide a helpful segway into watching both/and. For example;
         - which of the dresses that Bailey imagines in the story would YOU most like to wear, and why?
           (definitely NOT a discussion that is just for female-bodied kids… it should be clear to male-bodied people in
           the class that it is perfectly fine and good and encouraged for them to have an opinion about this as well).
         - how do you think that the different people in this book are feeling?...
           why do you think that they have these feelings?
           i.e. why do you think that Bailey’s brother is being so mean to her?
         - how do you think the story would be different if Bailey really WAS a boy on the inside as well as
           the outside and he STILL liked to wear and design dresses? why do you think this?

    6.   * I recommend doing this introduction to self-portraiture the DAY BEFORE watching the both/and video
         as a class, and then beginning the actual experience of creating the next day with a quick review of what
         was learned and discussed here.



                                                                                                                    22
grades: Junior and Senior Kindergarten

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART ONE . self portraits
lesson summaries:
general
 The Watching, Listening and Discussing section of the General Introduction to Lesson Plans describes my
  approach to sharing this video with students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and may be helpful in thinking
  through how to start out… * Launching into things based entirely on your own ideas and intuition is also fully
  acceptable of course.
 The Students’ Prior Knowledge section of the Lesson Plan outlined the basics of 3 lessons that you may
  choose to work through with your class prior to watching and discussing both/and. The last of these is an
  introduction to self-portrait-making that I recommend doing the day directly before watching the video and
  responding with individual portrait creation.
 I have chosen to create self-portraits with my students through a self-reflective process that includes
  gathering, sorting and using many of our own re-used objects as art materials, spending time thinking about
  and discussing how we see ourselves, how we would like to walk through the world most authentically, and
  why or why not our desires and intentions match the way that we actually DO move through the world... This
  is not the only way to go about self-portrait making or to respond as a class to both/and. I do it this way
  because I find that it leaves a lot of room for challenging stereotypes of all sorts that restrict us from fully
  BEing ourselves in the world. This video was developed mainly in response to my frustration over gender
  stereotypes, sexism and transphobia, but if it also opens up space for your class to talk about other layers of
  identity such as race, religion, beauty standards, socio-ecomomics and/or ability… fantastic!... None of these
  oppressions ever exist in isolation.
 If you are interested in learning more about the pedagogical perspectives that inform my practice, I have
  studied both the Reggio Emilia approach to emergent curriculum and a variety of community building
  and peaceful conflict-resolution practices… cobbling this and more together on an ongoing basis through
  readings and actual experiences – some of which are listed in the resources section of this document.

lesson a) DRAWING OURSELVES BEING OURSELVES
This lesson includes step one: the video - watching, listening and discussing as detailed on page 16.
It begins where LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself (pages 21-22) left
off the previous day by checking in with students and asking them to share their ideas for the ways that they wish
to draw themselves in their self-portraits today. The experience of actually DRAWING OURSELVES BEING
OURSELVES will come after viewing the both/and video. This is a preliminary pencil and black pen outline sketch
that invites students to draw the “self” in the way that they have been thinking and talking about. Tomorrow, this
drawing will become the model for making a 3D image of themselves constructed from the beautiful stuff
collection.

lesson b) MAKING ME – 3D
MAKING ME – 3D employs the line drawing that students completed the previous day as a model for creating a 3D
image of themselves using found objects from the “beautiful stuff” collection. This image is developed on a piece
of 12”x18” coloured construction paper where the objects are placed but not glued down. One reason for this
choice is that by taking away glue as an option, we can help free kids up to explore and try things conceptually
that they may take the time to experiment with if permanence is an “option” (because it is often read as “an
expectation”)… Small details matter – kids notice – and if we are asking them to stretch outside of social boxes
and try on different, more authentic ways of BE-ing with one another and in the world, asking them to glue a
version of themselves to a piece of paper and keep it like that forever can (rightly) be experienced as counter-
intuitive at best. Students will need to be able to refer to this 3D image the next day when they work on part c) of
their self-portrait experience, so there are a couple of ways that you can help make this happen;
1. Plan this lesson at the end of one day and lesson c) at the very beginning of the next day so as to prevent
   disturbance to the un-fixed 3D image constructions and to avoid covering all available surfaces in your
   classroom for any longer than necessary.


                                                                                                                  23
2. Use a digital camera to take a picture of each student’s 3D portrait as they finish it and then have them
    disassemble it and put back / re-sort all of the beautiful stuff that they used to create it that same day. Prior to
    the next lesson, print off a small (i.e. 3.5”x5”) colour photo of each self-portrait and give these to the students
    to refer to.
*IF YOU HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND OPTION 2…
In addition to other practical benefits, it is really nice to have a record of all stages of the portrait-making process.
This is especially true for JK/SK students because I have found that the developmental leap that often occurs as a
result of handling the objects they are drawing before trying to recreate them in 2D can be quite astounding and
is definitely worth documenting.

lesson c) PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES: drawing 2D with 3D experience
“DRAWING 2D WITH 3D EXPERIENCE” is in reference to the fact that the process of translating oneself from the
3D body to a 2D line drawing, to a creative representation by beauty-full objects, and then back to a much-
changed 2D drawing cannot be a strictly linear experience… This is intentional. Figuring out who we really are as
human beings without all the layers of social expectations – particularly in relation to stereotypes of gender, race,
religion, ability, etc. – is neither linear, nor static, nor easy. It would seem disingenuous to me as an educator to
design the process of telling the story of one’SELF to the world as a quick sketch. By introducing this as a many-
step journey with several translations and points of reflection, we are building a space for kids to create the
specific language of authentic self-description inTO the lesson plan … (i.e. “scaffolding” in edu-speak).
In lesson c), students are asked to draw themselves again by referring directly to the photograph (or actual
objects) of the 3D image that they created the previous day. Two things generally happen at this point;
1. The technical quality of kids’ rendering skills improve through the simple act of having handled the objects
    that they are attempting to draw.
2. Some of the found objects that individuals have used to represent special parts of themselves are melded and
    morphed into a beauty-full and completely unique symbolism of the self.
THIS is the art piece that students will be completing with full colour and will be preparing to speak about with
the rest of the class community in PART TWO of the lesson plan; visual show and share.


materials list:
PREPARATORY LESSONS:
 Letter to Families explaining “beautiful stuff” collection *please see sample letter on pages 63 – 64
 class set of large, sturdy paper bags. (handles are useful)
 20-30 medium sized containers to house the various categories of “stuff”
 Lost and Found picture book by Oliver Jeffers
 unlined chart paper
 pencil and/or large black marker
 10 000 Dresses picture book by Marcus Ewert

*both/and video can be viewed online at www.mygsa.ca

SELF PORTRAITS:
 8.5” X 11” white copier paper
 class set of sharp pencils and erasers.
 thin, black felt-tip pens
 pencil crayons
 12” x 18” construction paper of a darker yet festive tone (i.e. turquoise blue or forest green seem to work well)
 an extensive and impressive collection of kid-found “beautiful stuff”
*digital camera
*access to a colour printer
_________________________________________________________________________
* all items are technically “optional” but starred items are particularly so.




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preparation:
You will require internet access to your classroom computer in order to watch both/and online at
www.mygsa.ca.
If you are having trouble accessing the material, please feel free to contact me at leehicks30@gmail.com.

lesson a)
For this first portrait, each student will need one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier paper, a sharp HB
pencil, an eraser and a thin , felt-tipped, black pen.
It will also be useful to some students to have the visual examples produced at the previous day’s LEARNING
ABOUT SELF-PORTRAITS lesson posted and accessible for reference.
* With arts based activities in particular, I find that there are always kids who very legitimately finish in
15 minutes… and then others who could very legitimately spend the entire day on the task. For this reason I
generally give a moderate estimate for completion time, and then suggest having a variety of other
optional activities on hand for early finishers so as not to stress out the meticulous or bore the more
definitive among us.

lesson b)
I have found it useful at this stage of the process to have an area of the classroom – perhaps a stretch of floor at
one side of the room - where the many containers of beautiful stuff can be housed in a way that is available to
several kids at a time. The students will need to browse the contents of the collection often throughout this class,
and it is way more likely to stay in a reasonable state of order if it is easily accessible. Other than that, all that is
required is one piece of coloured 12” x 18” construction paper per student. If you are planning to take pictures of
each completed 3D portrait with a digital camera, it is a good idea to establish a plan with your students before
beginning as to how they will let you know that they are finished and ready for their “photo op”. If you not doing
photo documentation, you will need to figure out how to have the students working on surfaces where they can
leave their creations undisturbed until the next day.

lesson c)
The materials for this stage of the process are also minimal; one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier paper,
a sharp HB pencil, an eraser, pencil crayons and a thin, felt-tipped, black pen for each student. The real
preparation is for those teachers who chose to photo document the 3D self-portraits from the previous lesson.
You will need to print off colour versions of these photos for your students to work from today. In order to
preserve ink and paper, I generally print these at a ¼ page size, which is quite sufficient for reference.


methodology and timing: *
lesson a)
1. This lesson begins where the previous day’s discussion about imagining dressing ourselves and walking
   through world the way that we feel most authentic left off after reading 10 000 DRESSES. Begin in a discussion
   circle and ask if anyone would like to share their thoughts regarding how they would like to draw themselves
   in their self-portraits today… Make time and space for whoever would like to share to participate.
2. WATCH VIDEO – as outlined on page 16, “watching, listening and discussing” (or whatever works for you)
3. The discussion that takes place after the video will again be dependent on the particular composition and
   collective experiences of your classroom…. the important point is simply to make time for it.
4. Before the individual art making begins, refresh your students’ memory of examples and ideas discussed the
   previous day in LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS by re-posting your chart paper examples and making
   the Oliver Jeffers book(s) accessible. For this portrait, I ask the kids to draw in pencil, and then go over their
   final outline in fine-tipped black pen… There are two reasons for this – a) it gives the drawing a more
   professional look of completion, and b) it is an excellent way for young children to practice fine motor
   skills. Personally, I find it easier to work with kids’ artwork in digital form later on if they all have the same
   orientation on the paper… Also, doing self-portraits on vertically oriented paper sneakily encourages kids to
   draw their entire body as opposed to just their head or their big toe… Taking these factors into consideration, I
   highly recommend asking all your kids to work on vertical (long-ways-up) paper for this project.




                                                                                                                       25
1. CHECK-IN                   10 minutes
2. WATCH THE VIDEO            15 minutes
3. DISCUSS                    10 minutes
4. INDIVIDUAL DRAWING         30 minutes

lesson b)
1. * Please see the visual documentation section of this curriculum for examples of what a 3D self-
   portrait may end up looking like.
   Over the past few days of working through this project with your class, you as the classroom teacher will have
   already created a 2D self-portrait that you can use to refer to when demonstrating the translation of line
   drawing to 3D beautiful stuff image. With younger children, I find that it is more engaging and useful for
   everyone when the kids help you to search the class collection for objects that you can use in your
   representation. This way, you can also surreptitiously model respectful care for materials.
   * BE SURE TO PHOTODOCUMENT OR OTHERWISE PRESERVE YOUR OWN 3D IMAGE so that you have it
   available for reference at the start of lesson c)
2. Basically, this class is the jurisdiction of your students and their own creative interpretation of the task at
   hand. In terms of practical considerations, you have 20 to 30 bins of magnificent found objects and 20 to 30
   small children. Let us acknowledge that the potential for chaos is present… HOWEVER, believe it or not, I have
   found that by the time the project gets to this stage, the kids have developed a sense of respect for and
   connection with the materials (and one another) that actually supersedes what we as classroom teachers
   might expect would happen… In other words; briefly demonstrate… point your students in the direction of
   the materials… relax, and enjoy.
   * If you are photo documenting the 3D images you will need to take a picture of each child’s work as they
   complete it. *SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME on the image-processing side of things and frame your shots so
   that you are taking in only the objects that the student has used to create their image and a thin coloured
   border around them… this way you can just select “print” for all images as opposed to having to crop and cut
   bits here and there on the computer.
3. Once you have a good photo of the 3D image, the student can begin to put away the beautiful stuff from their
   project for later re-use by sorting it back into the appropriate containers. If you are not photo documenting,
   simply ensure that all of the non-fixed 3D images are safe on stable surfaces until the next stage of the project
   commences tomorrow.

1. DEMONSTRATION              15 minutes
2. 3D IMAGE CREATION          45 minutes
3. CLEAN-UP                   10 minutes * if you are putting the beautiful stuff away today

lesson c)
1. I also recommend starting this lesson out with a brief demonstration of moving from 3D image into a different
   sort of 2D drawing (using either the 3D image that you preserved from yesterday’s class or your colour photo
   to refer to)… This time, you are different yourself though, as you now contain the experience of these actual
   shapes, lines and colours in your hands, informing your knowledge and your use of them as a medium.
   Basically, all you are demonstrating at this point is a combination of careful attention to shape, colour and
   form in the objects that you chose to combine, as well as a willingness to change your plan based on intuition;
   (to pay careful attention to self).
   * The visual documentation section also has examples of this stage of the self-portrait process.
2. This final version of the self-portrait begins with a pencil drawing and then, as with lesson a), I would
   encourage kids to go over their final outline in black pen before moving on to developing the image in
   coloured pencil. I have observed that this process also encourages more concentrated attention to the size,
   shape and line of the objects being rendered. With the coloured pencils, kids are then freed up to express
   additional thoughts and feelings while some semblance of the original form is maintained through the black
   outline.

1. DEMONSTRATION              10 minutes
2. FINAL PORTRAIT             50 minutes

*timing is always approximate

                                                                                                                  26
grades: Junior and Senior Kindergarten

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART TWO . visual show and share
lesson summaries:
general
 With primary grades including Junior and Senior Kindergarten, the major source that I look to in learning how
  to help children gain the confidence and skill to speak their ideas to one another – and to really listen and
  reflect on the ideas of others in return – is TALKING, DRAWING WRITING: Lessons For Our Youngest Writers
  by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe.
 In general preparation for this type of activity, I begin on the first day of school by working in short, daily
  periods in different contexts where students as young as Junior Kindergarten practice telling their stories
  orally. The goal of the audience in each of these instances is to learn how to listen actively and respond with
  relevant comments, compliments or questions.
 I would recommend re-watching the both/and video after the portraits are done and before the show and
  share as a refresher – particularly for younger students.

lesson a) visual show and share
This is more of a celebration of accomplishment than a “lesson” really; an opportunity for each individual student
to share a part of themselves that they have worked hard to articulate; to talk about their process and to be
honoured for their bravery in doing so. In the context of both/and, it is an opportunity to revisit the subject
matter in a reflection 2-3 days after the initial viewing. In the interim, the potential for discussion has become
richly and deeply informed by a class-full of people who have been actually thinking about and working through
what it means to “imagine a world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in the way
they’ve always wanted to.”8


materials list:
The only materials required for this part of the process are those that you already have on hand;
 your students’ self-portraits, particularly #3
 a digital camera if you have one and wish to document this part of the process for your own records


preparation:
 students should all have been given sufficient time to complete stage 3 of their self-portrait before the class
   moves on to this portion of the process.


methodology and timing: *
lesson a)
1. The introduction today is a time for you to welcome the whole class back together and to set the tone for what
   will be a celebration of personal creative work accomplished and a general willingness to share our
   expressions. Also during the introduction, it is a good idea to have students volunteer to remind the class of
   “rules of engagement” when it comes to maintaining a safe community space for sharing personal feelings and
   ideas without fear of judgment or rejection.
2. The basic format of the show and share for this age group is a maximum of 2 minutes per student (so as to
   take into account wandering attention spans)… Depending on your group of kids, you may even choose to
   spread this lesson over 2 days. Each participant can begin by showing their #3 self-portrait to the class and
   pointing out parts of it that they particularly like and why. For the early learner group, I would not



8from 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, Kate Bornstein, 7 Stories Press, 2006 – used by Lee
Hicks with permission of the author and the publisher, both/and, 2010

                                                                                                                       27
   recommend setting any specific questions to work from and would instead make time for a few positive
   comments, compliments or questions posed to each artist from classmates with their hands up. As the teacher
   facilitator, you can also insert your own comments or questions from time to time so as to bring the
   discussion back around to the themes of the video (stereotypes, bullying, changing the way that we deal with
   “difference”, imagining and working towards a world where everyone can express themselves in the way that
   they most authentically ARE – including gender expression, attraction, race, religion, ability, etc.)
3. The “appreciation round” is an opportunity for all participants in the circle share briefly what they most
   valued about this experience and/or to thank the group for their contributions.

1. INTRODUCTION             5 minutes
2. SHOW AND SHARE           30 – 40 minutes (approximately 2 minutes per kid)
3. APPRECIATION ROUND 5 minutes
*timing is always approximate


lesson extensions / modifications:
1. For Kindergarten Children who are already writing (in whatever manner, with or without actual letters or
   proper spelling) you can encourage them to describe certain pieces of their self-portraits in words and to write
   these into or around the existing drawing.
2. You as the teacher may choose to either take word-for-word notes or videotape what the children say about
   their own work when they are presenting it to the class. This can become something that you can scribe and
   display with the art pieces themselves, the basis of a future writing activity, and/or an assessment tool.
3. For students who are struggling with English and/or public speaking in general, it is very possible to include
   them in this process without making it too painfully obvious that they are not speaking. For example;
    if you have access to technology – you can work with the artist before hand one-on-one to find out what
      they like best about their picture and why, and then record either your voice or theirs as a voice-over to
      video close-ups on various parts of their image.
    without technology – the same sort of effect can be done “live” with either you or a student buddy
      providing the “voice-over” while the artist points to their favourite parts of their own work.
    you can have the artist point to the aspects of their work that they like best and rely on other students in
      the class to give them positive comments and compliments in response to this sharing.




grades: Junior and Senior Kindergarten

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART THREE . planning for action
lesson summaries:
PART TWO of this lesson plan is designed to encourage conversation that will help kids make connections
between their own experiences of identity and those of their classmates. PART THREE consists of two lessons
that will facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals towards something more like a group
planning session addressing how we as a community can make positive social change happen in the world
around us. Lesson a) is a chance for younger children to use images to articulate their thoughts about “imagining
a world” prior to sharing these ideas orally with their classmates. Lesson b) is the equivalent of “brainstorming”
in junior classes – using the visual templates from lesson a) to aid the flow of conversation for the collaborative
action plan. I have given one example under the possible extensions / modifications heading in this section as
to the direction that one of my own classes did end up heading to begin arts-based social action in response to
similar subject matter. I will not however take these lesson plans any further than helping to set the stage for
child-directed activism. As I touched on in the general curriculum introduction, I feel that the specific




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form that this work takes should be the sole domain of students and their teacher. The role of each educator at
that point will be to listen closely in order to discern what is truly igniting the passions of their class, and then to
assist students in forming a plan that honours their optimism in a way that is manageable and socially conscious.


materials list:
 “imagine a world” template
 class set of sharp pencils and erasers.
 thin, black felt-tip pens
 pencil crayons
 chart paper and markers


preparation:
For lesson a), print off the “imagine a world” template and make a class set of copies. Each student will also
need a sharp HB pencil, an eraser and a thin, felt-tipped, black pen. Everyone should also have access to pencil
crayons. Preparation for lesson b) basically consists of having some sort of visual idea ready from the previous
lesson to share with the class. I have found that oral brainstorming in “planning for action” is facilitated by first
articulating ideas in visual form.


methodology and timing:*
lesson a)
1. I suggest that young children in particular may want to re-watch the both/and video at this point because
    there is a lot to take in, both visually and conceptually, and I find that this also helps to refocus the discussions
    that are going on in conjunction to the arts-based response.
2. After watching the video for a second time, it is often possible to have a more focused discussion with young
    children. Try going back to the point in the video where the young person asks “can you imagine a world
    like that?”… pause it - and ask the kids if they can actually imagine that...
    IF THEY CAN – ask them to share specifics about what it would look, sound, feel like…
    IF THEY CAN’T – find out why… continue to discuss to see if there is any way they could access that hope…
3. On the templates provided, ask students to draw themselves into the place of the person doing the
    imagining… encourage them to draw and colour themselves as much like they actually look as possible so that
    they are beginning to put themselves in the place of the person making active steps towards positive social
    change… In the thought bubble, ask students to draw what that imagined world would be like for them…what
    is happening there to make it the way it is?
* If you have time, sit with the students one-on-one to scribe some of their ideas on the paper for them so
that you can more easily prompt them in the discussion later if necessary.
* It is not terribly crucial how much drawing gets done on this template, or how completely drawn, outlined or
coloured it is (unless you are planning to assess and/or display it in some way and that is important to you)…
Basically, this sheet is intended to help kids organize and articulate their thoughts around the idea of “imagine a
world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in the way they’ve always wanted
to.” This is so that in lesson b), they can more confidently talk about their ideas with their classmates.

1. RE-WATCH VIDEO              15 minutes
2. DISCUSS AND INTRO.          10 minutes
3. “IMAGINE” DRAWING           35 minutes

lesson b)
1. The “share and scribe” of this lesson is basically what “brainstorming” would be with a junior grade class.
   With younger children, I find that giving them a template first to work through their own ideas visually helps
   to promote discussion. First, go around the circle and get as many children as are able to share some ideas
   about what this “imagined” world where everyone is safe to express themselves the way they have always




                                                                                                                       29
   wanted to. Some children will have lots to say, while others may just hold up a drawing and you + classmates
   can help by suggest how you feel when you look at it. As new ideas are shared, you can record them in
   drawing and/or writing on a large piece of chart paper or whiteboard for the class to see. Once everyone has
   shared, take a moment to review and celebrate all of the ideas that you have come up with together.
2. If you have never worked collaboratively with very young children to come up with an idea for social action,
   the concept of it may seem rather daunting. Just remember that it does not need to be something hugely
   ambitious or groundbreaking… Above all, you are trying to create an association between wanting things to
   be different... thinking through how they could be different…and then actually doing something to help
   change things for the better. With the early learner age group, this can be as simple as making a
   collaborative art piece that combines and showcases your class’ magnificent hope-full ideas. You can work
   with to find ways to share this work and these ideas with the rest of your school and the surrounding
   community. The activism here is that your message is being shared beyond the walls of your classroom and
   your students get a taste of how positive change starts to happen when individuals speak up for what they
   believe in.
   “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is
   the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

1. SHARE AND SCRIBE         20 minutes
2. GENERAL DISCUSSION       15 minutes
*timing is always approximate


lesson extensions / modifications:
One example of an experience that I have had working through material on a similar topic with this age of
students culminated in the collaborative planning and creation of a mural. This mural was then shared with the
rest of our school community during a concert, and told the class’ interpretation of the lyrics to a song called
PEACEFUL DREAM by TDSB teacher Tom Bennett.




                                                                                                                   30
primary – grades 1 to 3
general introduction

The newly revised (and then promptly recalled) Ontario Sexual Education Curriculum of 2010
was set to include specific anti-homophobia education for grade 3 students. The wave of
conservative opposition to the plan took particular exception to “teaching eight-year-olds about
homosexuality,” saying that “it is unconscionable to teach eight-year-old children same-sex
marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity."9 Hmmm…. SO much I could say about that,
but for the moment I will stick with the facts of what the proposed curriculum actually said;

C3.3 - describe how visible differences (e.g., skin, hair, and eye colour, facial features, body
size and shape, physical aids or different physical abilities, clothing, possessions) and invisible
differences (e.g., learning abilities, skills and talents, personal or cultural values and beliefs,
gender identity, sexual orientation, family background, personal preferences, allergies and
sensitivities) make each person unique, and identify ways of showing respect for
differences in others.

In my opinion, what is actually “unconscionable” behaviour as an educator is to witness the
perpetuation of societal oppressions among children and NOT challenge them directly with
age-appropriate education. Sexism translated into homophobia and transphobia does not wait
to happen until kids know exactly what the word “faggot” means or exactly why they are saying
it… Gender-based violence starts much earlier than grade 6 and so I have a hard time
reconciling the idea of waiting until the age of 12 to teach kids what that is and why it is not ok.

I have witnessed a kindergarten student call another child in his class a “faggot” because he had
expressed an interest in playing dress-up. Almost everyone who I have told that story to reacts
in shock and dismay but really; who among us has never steered a child into or out of certain
activities because of our “good intentions” for their well-being and “gender appropriate”
existence? THIS is how that 5 year old learned to connect the word “faggot” with a boy who likes
to play dress-up. This is also why I am so concerned about the influence that teachers have
when it is not paired with conscious and ongoing self-analysis.10

For the time being, our provincial government has decided that the political path-of-least-
resistance is worth more to them than the health and safety of all kids in Ontario, which has
unfortunately also discouraged even more teachers from addressing transphobia in their
classrooms. I have hope that this will not always be the case, but in the interim, here’s how you
can still teach this content and connect directly to Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum
documents in their current state of publication…




9   Charles McVety, head of the Canada Christian College, CBC News, Friday, April 23, 2010
10   Why “I didn’t mean it like that” Means Nothing to Gender Open Kids, Lee Hicks, 2010

                                                                                                 31
primary – grades 1 to 3
overview of curriculum

* The content of the primary lesson plans are very similar to that of the early learner-
kindergarten program. I have adjusted the “methodology and timing” in particular to make the
activities age appropriate. The content works differently with each grade of course, but I have had
success with variations of these ideas at many age levels.

Part One of this lesson set involves 3 pieces of preparatory work that should be completed
before the video is screened. These are intended to establish prior knowledge. There are then 3
more lessons for the class to work though after they have watched the video together. These
lessons start at the place of “self” and are designed to help children develop a personal
connection to the concept of pride, self-identity, and the celebration of differences through an
individual, arts-based activity.

Preparatory work is described as an overview in “students prior knowledge” and all sources
used are detailed in “resources.” The 3 lessons following the video screening will be referred
to as lesson a), lesson b) and lesson c) and will be looked at in greater detail under the
headings “lesson summaries”, “materials list”, “preparation” and “methodology and
timing.”

Part Two consists of one lesson in which the personal artwork that the students completed in
Part One becomes a starting place for conversation in response to the both/and video
resource. The discussion progresses more deeply into what the students are thinking about the
similarities and differences between the individual experiences and identities among them.

Part Three is an opportunity to facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals
to more of a group planning session that addresses how we as a community can make positive
social change happen in the world around us. It involves 2 initial lessons that will support
planning and open up space for individualized activities to develop. I will describe an example
of how this might occur, but encourage individual teachers to watch and listen to the unique
discussions in their own classrooms so as to move into action and activism with authenticity
and increased potential for sustainability.

Documenting images referred to throughout the lesson plans are labeled accordingly and can
be viewed at the end of the curriculum section on pages 58 – 62.




                                                                                                32
grades: 1 to 3
RESPONSE TO both/and
students’ prior knowledge
1. BEAUTIFUL STUFF:
My approach to portrait making as a self-reflective process with kids has been inspired partially through ideas
from a book called BEAUTIFUL STUFF: Learning With Found Materials. The actual beautiful stuff (aside from
what the kids themselves create) refers to all manner of found, re-used and recycled items that everyone in the
class community collects and brings to school with the intention of sharing. Further details on that philosophy and
related projects can be found in this book, which is by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini. In this section I will
summarize what I do with primary classes to collect, sort, and create with found materials and will focus on
planning for a self-portrait project in response to the both/and video.

Approximately two weeks prior to actually needing a good supply of found materials to work with in class, I
introduced the idea of “beautiful stuff” to the class as basically, “any kind of small object or materials that you
can find which is not living, is not belonging to anyone else, and is not already being used for something
that it is essential to….“Beautiful” on the other hand has few restrictions. It is whatever that idea means to
you… You may like to look or the size or the shape or the feel of it… It may make you feel happy, or just feel
something in a way that you find beautiful… No one else gets to decide what is beautiful to you.” We had an
introductory class discussion about this, and I demonstrated the idea of beauty being subjective and individual by
showing the students a few found objects from my collection and explaining why I like them… Students then
volunteered to share their own past experiences with having found and/or saved interesting and “beautiful”
objects. At the end of this day, I sent each child home with a large, sturdy paper bag and a letter to families
explaining what we were aiming to do over the next couple of weeks, why, and the date that we would need to
have the materials collected and delivered to the classroom by.

2. THE SORTING OF THE STUFF:
On the day that the beautiful stuff collection is completed and delivered, we have an “Opening of the Bags”
ceremony in the classroom. We begin with a bit of fun and mock-seriousness with a “please-repeat-after-me-I-will-
not-forget-myself-completely-and-dive-IN-to-the-pile-of-beautiful-stuff-no-matter-HOW-amazingly-beautiful-it-is”
pledge. This works well.

Each student in turn comes to the center of the big circle we are seated in to dump the contents of their careful
collection out for all to see and exclaim over… If they chose, they point out a couple of particularly amazing items
and tell the details of how they had found them and why they love them. When each student had contributed their
stash and their stories to the pile, we begin to talk about HOW we will sort them.

We do the sorting itself rather “organically” (and by this, I mean quite seriously that I had no idea the first time how
it was going to go). The trial and error DID work though, and took place essentially like this;
 lay out all of the empty containers in a row of sorts;
 someone suggests a category and takes an example item from the big pile to “file” into a new container;
 the process is repeated until all categories that the class suggests have been assigned to their own container;
 individuals or small groups work to find and collect all of the items from the pile that fit into a certain category
 once the initial sorting is complete, there are inevitably overlapping categories that can be sorted out through
    discussion, consensus, and/or any other semi-democratic method that works for you and your class.

3. LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself
When teaching about self-portraiture, regardless of the age group, I start by suggesting that as human beings, we
all have things that we know about ourselves that seem similar to other people as well as things that seem very
different. Humans generally like at least some of the “same” things about ourselves, and some of the “different”
things, but there may also be parts that we spend time not liking at all. Often, we spend time not liking certain
parts because we are under the impression that they are either TOO much the same, or TOO different from other
people that we want to be accepted by. The very funny truth of all this is that every other human around us is
struggling with the same worries…. every single one… and the thing that they really want most of all is to be
celebrated for who they are most naturally. Just like you...


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So, the thing is then that this one similarity –
this key vulnerability about being human and living well in community – is really the only thing we need to worry
about knowing when we take the risk of showing ourselves fully to other people;
It means that the way that YOU do it is exactly perfect, exactly now for you, and
the way that they do it is exactly perfect for them….
That goes for drawing,
and for BE-ing.

“MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
we want to love
and be loved.”11

This doesn’t mean fear of being rejected is not scary…. it means that in THIS group at the very least, we are going
to try to remember that EVERYONE – even you – is being the very best self that they can be and that it is an honour
to have someone share their best self with you. I then ask everyone to please remember to accept this honour
with thanks and respect for themselves and each of their classmates.

The truth is that I begin facilitating the development of this language of positive, supportive community building in
the classroom on day one of the school year because it really can’t happen all at once. Before you can expect kids to
share honestly about themselves with others, there needs to be a clear expectation of care and safety that we all
hold one another to. With younger children, you as the classroom teacher start out doing a lot of the “holding” so
to speak... As kids get older though, a very beautiful thing can occur whereby they start to expect love and
acceptance within their community and can actually call each other out when an individual acts in ways that go
against that expectation. It is an incredible moment to witness as an educator.

Risking showing more of ourselves to others is what self-portraiture does essentially – and that is why I have
found learning about self-portraits to be a good way of opening peoples’ brains wide enough to see and experience
the both/and video in a different way. As I will detail in PART ONE of the lesson plan; going through the process
of making and then sharing a self-portrait with classmates can help build a language through which even the
youngest learners can consolidate and articulate an understanding of how important it is for everyone to be seen
and accepted as themselves in the world… For me, a significant goal here is to help more children experience
acceptance and celebration of their true selves consistently, and early in life. Among other obvious benefits, I have
hope that a basic infusion of genuine love to this generation of young people will support the development of a
future adult population that is much more likely to put energy into fostering deep, loving community for others.

Perhaps this seems like a lot of theoretical preamble but, just as I think it is essential for kids to understand WHY
they are doing something in order for them to actually be invested in learning from it, it is important for me as an
educator to be clear on why I am teaching the content that I do. The grand majority of preparation that I do as a
classroom teacher is the work of unpacking my own intentions for myself… As in, “why am I personally invested
in planning this particular lesson in the way that I am planning it and, why is it that I am choosing to teach
this concept with this process in the first place?” As elementary school teachers, we know through much
experience that “The Best Laid Plans” for the step-by-step/how-to of something can mean very little in practical
terms when you don’t have money for the right kind of paper or your lesson is interrupted by a fire drill. It is way
easier to get back on track and not even worry about all that however, if you know why it is that you began and
where you are going. That being said;

“the potential step-by-step”:
       1.   I use an OLIVER JEFFERS book – my favourite is Lost and Found – to introduce self-portraiture to
            primary-aged kids because in the back of every one of the magnificent stories that he both writes and
            illustrates, there is an old photograph of Jeffers himself as a kid… Aside from the fact that he is brimming
            over with impish magnificence, these photos generally bear a striking resemblance to the small human
            protagonist in the story (and often he is wearing some sort of fantastic outfit that I wish came in my size).
            The outfit IS important to the project beyond my own fashion sense however, because I then show the
            class a picture of little Oliver beside the character that he has drawn in reference to himself so that we can
            notice and discuss the similarities. The best thing about his drawing style is that it is often simple shapes


11   From THE SKILLS AND PRINCIPLES OF LOVING, Shalom Mountain Sacred Retreat Centre.
                                                                                                                      34
     that are easy to break down and to demonstrate. In Lost and Found, he wears a very similar toque in both
     images and has drawn himself in an enviable stripey t-shirt.
2.   I then talk about a favourite t-shirt of mine, picking one that I feel expresses something about myself I
     would like to share with others. For example, I once chose a black t-shirt that I had sewn a puffy, pink-
     striped giraffe on to – transplanted from another shirt that I did not like. I explained that I like it because
     sometimes people say that “pink is a girl colour,” but I identify as male, and I like pink…. I also like it
     because I sewed it myself (another non-traditional but perfectly awesome pastime for men). I used my
     creativity to make something that works for me and that helps me to feel most “myself” when I wear it..

3.   As I describe my shirt for the class, I am also drawing it onto chart paper that I have set up so that
     everyone can see. When I am done drawing the t-shirt itself with all of the pertinent details, I ask the class
     to help in drawing the REST of me by asking what other pieces are missing to make the picture look “like”
     me… what shapes they think those pieces should be… what placement in relation to one another – right
     down to 8 visible piercings and 3 tattoos. They are often very concerned about these details in particular!...
     By doing this part of the process collaboratively, you are giving the kids a low-pressure
     opportunity to witness someone drawing a self-portrait step-by-step, and to begin participating in
     that process themselves to whatever degree they feel comfortable at first.

4.   Once the demonstration self-portrait of myself is done I ask the class members to all take a minute, close
     their eyes, and think carefully about the outfit that they either have or wish they had to best describe their
     true self… We will save the sharing of these ideas for the next day, just before watching the both/and
     video and commencing the self-portrait creating.

5.   Directly after the idea of “what do you most want to draw yourself wearing” has been suggested into the
     students’ brains, I read them 10 000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. This book is about a kid named Bailey
     who happens to be born in a body that people read as “boy”. She dreams of all of the dresses that she
     would wear if she could make what she saw in her head…. and if her family would realize that actually –
     she is a girl on the inside. Following this reading, there are lots of different directions that the discussion
     may go, all of which can provide a helpful segway into watching both/and. For example;
     - which of the dresses that Bailey imagines in the story would YOU most like to wear, and why?
       (definitely NOT a discussion that is just for female-bodied kids… it should be clear to male-bodied people in
       the class that it is perfectly fine and good and encouraged for them to have an opinion about this as well).
     - how do you think that the different people in this book are feeling?...
       why do you think that they have these feelings?
       i.e. why do you think that Bailey’s brother is being so mean to her?
     - how do you think the story would be different if Bailey really WAS a boy on the inside as well as
       the outside and he STILL liked to wear and design dresses? why do you think this?

6.   * I recommend doing this introduction to self-portraiture the DAY BEFORE watching the both/and video
     as a class, and then beginning the actual experience of creating the next day with a quick review of what
     was learned and discussed here.




                                                                                                                35
grades: 1 to 3

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART ONE . self portraits
lesson summaries:
general
 The Watching, Listening and Discussing section of the General Introduction to Lesson Plans describes my
  approach to sharing this video with students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and may be helpful in thinking
  through how to start out… * Launching into things based entirely on your own ideas and intuition is also fully
  acceptable of course.
 The Students’ Prior Knowledge section of the Lesson Plan outlined the basics of 3 lessons that you may
  choose to work through with your class prior to watching and discussing both/and. The last of these is an
  introduction to self-portrait-making that I recommend doing the day directly before watching the video and
  responding with individual portrait creation.
 I have chosen to create self-portraits with my students through a self-reflective process that includes
  gathering, sorting and using many of our own re-used objects as art materials, spending time thinking about
  and discussing how we see ourselves, how we would like to walk through the world most authentically, and
  why or why not our desires and intentions match the way that we actually DO move through the world... This
  is not the only way to go about self-portrait making or to respond as a class to both/and. I do it this way
  because I find that it leaves a lot of room for challenging stereotypes of all sorts that restrict us from fully
  BEing ourselves in the world. This video was developed mainly in response to my frustration over gender
  stereotypes, sexism and transphobia, but if it also opens up space for your class to talk about other layers of
  identity such as race, religion, beauty standards, socio-ecomomics and/or ability… fantastic!... None of these
  oppressions ever exist in isolation.
 If you are interested in learning more about the pedagogical perspectives that inform my practice, I have
  studied both the Reggio Emilia approach to emergent curriculum and a variety of community building
  and peaceful conflict-resolution practices… cobbling various influences together on an ongoing basis
  through readings and actual experiences – some of which are listed in the resources section of this document.

lesson a) DRAWING OURSELVES BEING OURSELVES
This lesson includes step one: the video - watching, listening and discussing as detailed on page 16.
It begins where LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself (pages 21-22) left
off the previous day by checking in with students and asking them to share their ideas for the ways that they wish
to draw themselves in their self-portraits today. The experience of actually DRAWING OURSELVES BEING
OURSELVES will come after viewing the both/and video. This is a preliminary pencil and black pen outline sketch
invites the students to draw the “self” in the way they have been thinking and talking about. Tomorrow, this
drawing will become the model for making a 3D image of themselves constructed from your class’ beautiful stuff
collection.

lesson b) MAKING ME – 3D
MAKING ME – 3D employs the line drawing that students completed the previous day as a model for creating a 3D
image of themselves using found objects from the “beautiful stuff” collection. This image is developed on a piece
of 12”x18” coloured construction paper where the objects are placed but not glued down. One reason for this
choice is that by taking away glue as an option, we can help free kids up to explore and try things conceptually
that they may not take the time to experiment with if permanence is an “option” (because it is often read as “an
expectation”)… Small details matter – kids notice – and if we are asking them to stretch outside of social boxes
and try on different, more authentic ways of BE-ing with one another and in the world, asking them to glue a
version of themselves to a piece of paper and keep it like that forever can (rightly) be experienced as counter-
intuitive at best. Students will need to be able to refer to this 3D image the next day when they work on part c) of
their self-portrait experience, so there are a couple of ways that you can help make this happen;
1. Plan this lesson at the end of one day and lesson c) at the very beginning of the next day so as to prevent
   disturbance to the un-fixed 3D image constructions and to avoid covering all available surfaces in your
   classroom for any longer than necessary.


                                                                                                                  36
2. Use a digital camera to take a picture of each student’s 3D portrait as they finish it and then have them
    disassemble it and put back / re-sort all of the beautiful stuff that they used to create it that same day. Prior to
    the next lesson, print off a small (i.e. 3.5”x5”) colour photo of each self-portrait and give these to the students
    to refer to.
*IF YOU HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND OPTION 2…
In addition to other practical benefits, it is really nice to have a record of all stages of the portrait-making process.
This is especially true for JK/SK students because I have found that the developmental leap that often occurs as a
result of handling the objects they are drawing before trying to recreate them in 2D can be quite astounding and
is definitely worth documenting.

lesson c) PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES: drawing 2D with 3D experience
“DRAWING 2D WITH 3D EXPERIENCE” is in reference to the fact that the process of translating oneself from the
3D body to a 2D line drawing, to a creative representation by beauty-full objects, and then back to a much-
changed 2D drawing cannot be a strictly linear experience… This is intentional. Figuring out who we really are as
human beings without all the layers of social expectations – particularly in relation to stereotypes of gender, race,
religion, ability, etc. – is neither linear, nor static, nor easy. It would seem disingenuous to me as an educator to
design the process of telling the story of one’SELF to the world as a quick sketch. By introducing this as a many-
step journey with several translations and points of reflection, we are building a space for kids to create the
specific language of authentic self-description inTO the lesson plan … (i.e. “scaffolding” in edu-speak).
In lesson c), students are asked to draw themselves again by referring directly to the photograph (or actual
objects) of the 3D image that they created the previous day. Two things generally happen at this point;
1. The technical quality of kids’ rendering skills improve through the simple act of having handled the objects
    that they are attempting to draw.
2. Some of the found objects that individuals have used to represent special parts of themselves are melded and
    morphed into a beauty-full and completely unique symbolism of the self.
THIS is the art piece that students will be completing with full colour and will be preparing to speak about with
the rest of the class community in PART TWO of the lesson plan; visual show and share.


materials list:
PREPARATORY LESSONS:
 Letter Home to Families explaining “beautiful stuff” collection *please see sample letter on page 63 – 64
 class set of large, sturdy paper bags. (handles are useful)
 20-30 medium sized containers to house the various categories of “stuff”
 Lost and Found picture book by Oliver Jeffers
 unlined chart paper
 pencil and/or large black marker
 10 000 Dresses picture book by Marcus Ewert

*both/and video can be viewed online at www.mygsa.ca

SELF PORTRAITS:
 8.5” X 11” white copier paper
 class set of sharp pencils and erasers.
 thin, black felt-tip pens
 pencil crayons
 12” x 18” construction paper of a darker yet festive tone (i.e. turquoise blue or forest green seem to work
    well)
 an extensive and impressive collection of kid-found “beautiful stuff”
*digital camera
*access to a colour printer
_________________________________________________________________________
* all items are technically “optional” but starred items are particularly so.




                                                                                                                       37
preparation:
You will require internet access to your classroom computer in order to watch both/and online at
www.mygsa.ca.
If you are having trouble accessing the material, please feel free to contact me at leehicks30@gmail.com.

lesson a)
For this first portrait, each student will need one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier paper, a sharp HB
pencil, an eraser and a thin , felt-tipped, black pen.
It will also be useful to some students to have the visual examples produced at the previous day’s LEARNING
ABOUT SELF-PORTRAITS lesson posted today and accessible for reference.
* With arts based activities in particular, I find that there are always kids who very legitimately finish in
15 minutes… and then others who could very legitimately spend the entire day on the task. For this reason I
generally give a moderate estimate for completion time, and then suggest having a variety of other
optional activities on hand for early finishers so as not to stress out the meticulous or bore the more
definitive among us.

lesson b)
I have found it useful at this stage of the process to have an area of the classroom – perhaps a stretch of floor at
one side of the room - where the many containers of beautiful stuff can be housed in a way that is available to
several kids at a time. The students will need to browse the contents of the collection often throughout this class,
and it is way more likely to stay in a reasonable state of order if it is easily accessible. Other than that, all that is
required is one piece of coloured 12” x 18” construction paper per student. If you are planning to take pictures of
each completed 3D portrait with a digital camera, it is a good idea to establish a plan with your students before
beginning as to how they will let you know that they are finished and ready for their “photo op”. If you not doing
photo documentation, you will need to figure out how to have the students working on surfaces where they can
leave their creations undisturbed until the next day.

lesson c)
The materials for this stage of the process are also minimal; one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier paper,
a sharp HB pencil, an eraser, pencil crayons and a thin, felt-tipped, black pen for each student. The real
preparation is for those teachers who chose to photo document the 3D self-portraits from the previous lesson.
You will need to print off colour versions of these photos for your students to work from today. In order to
preserve ink and paper, I generally print these at a ¼ page size, which is quite sufficient for reference.



methodology and timing:*
lesson a)
1. This lesson begins where the previous day’s discussion about imagining dressing ourselves and walking
   through world the way that we feel most authentic left off after reading 10 000 DRESSES. Begin in a discussion
   circle and ask if anyone would like to share their thoughts regarding how they would like to draw themselves
   in their self-portraits today… Make time and space for whoever would like to share to participate.
2. WATCH VIDEO – as outlined on page 16, “watching, listening and discussing” (or whatever works for you)
3. The discussion that takes place after the video will again be dependent on the particular composition and
   collective experiences of your classroom…. the important point is simply to make time for it.
4. Before the individual art making begins, refresh your students’ memory of examples and ideas discussed the
   previous day in LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS by re-posting your chart paper examples and making
   the Oliver Jeffers book(s) accessible. For this portrait, I ask the kids to draw in pencil, and then go over their
   final outline in fine-tipped black pen… There are two reasons for this – a) it gives the drawing a more
   professional look of completion, and b) it is an excellent way for young children to practice fine motor
   skills. Personally, I find it easier to work with kids’ artwork in digital form later on if they all have the same
   orientation on the paper… Also, doing self-portraits on vertically oriented paper sneakily encourages kids to
   draw their entire body as opposed to just their head or their big toe… Taking these factors into consideration, I
   highly recommend asking all your kids to work on vertical (long-ways-up) paper for this project.



                                                                                                                       38
1. CHECK-IN                   10 minutes
2. WATCH THE VIDEO            15 minutes
3. DISCUSS                    10 minutes
4. INDIVIDUAL DRAWING         30 minutes

lesson b)
1. * Please see the visual documentation section of this curriculum for examples of what a 3D self-
   portrait may end up looking like.
   Over the past few days of working through this project with your class, you as the classroom teacher will have
   already created a 2D self-portrait that you can use to refer to when demonstrating the translation of line
   drawing to 3D beautiful stuff image. With younger children, I find that it is more engaging and useful for
   everyone when the kids help you to search the class collection for objects that you can use in your
   representation. This way, you can also surreptitiously model respectful care for materials.
   BE SURE TO PHOTODOCUMENT OR OTHERWISE PRESERVE YOUR OWN 3D IMAGE so that you have it
   available for reference at the start of lesson c)
2. Basically, this class is the jurisdiction of your students and their own creative interpretation of the task at
   hand. In terms of practical considerations, you have 20 to 30 bins of magnificent found objects and 20 to 30
   young children. Let us acknowledge that the potential for chaos is present… HOWEVER, believe it or not, I have
   found that by the time the project gets to this stage, the kids have developed a sense of respect for and
   connection with the materials (and one another) that actually supersedes what we as classroom teachers
   might expect would happen… In other words; briefly demonstrate… point your students in the direction of
   the materials… relax, and enjoy.
   If you are photo documenting the 3D images you will need to take a picture of each child’s work as they
   complete it. *SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME on the image-processing side of things and frame your shots so
   that you are taking in only the objects that the student has used to create their image and a thin coloured
   border around them… this way you can just select “print” for all images as opposed to having to crop and cut
   bits here and there on the computer.
3. Once you have a good photo of the 3D image, the student can begin to put away the beautiful stuff from their
   project for later re-use by sorting it back into the appropriate containers. If you are not photo documenting,
   simply ensure that all of the non-fixed 3D images are safe on stable surfaces until the next stage of the project
   commences tomorrow.

1. DEMONSTRATION              15 minutes
2. 3D IMAGE CREATION          45 minutes
3. CLEAN-UP                   10 minutes * if you are putting the beautiful stuff away today

lesson c)
1. I also recommend starting this lesson out with a brief demonstration of moving from 3D image into a different
   sort of 2D drawing (using either the 3D image that you preserved from yesterday’s class or your colour photo
   to refer to)… This time, you are different yourself though, as you now contain the experience of these actual
   shapes, lines and colours in your hands, informing your knowledge and your use of them as a medium.
   Basically, all you are demonstrating at this point is a combination of careful attention to shape, colour and
   form in the objects that you chose to combine, as well as a willingness to change your plan based on intuition;
   (to pay careful attention to self).
2. The visual documentation section also has examples of this stage of the self-portrait process.
3. This final version of the self-portrait begins with a pencil drawing and then, as with lesson a), I would
   encourage kids to go over their final outline in black pen before moving on to developing the image in
   coloured pencil. I have observed that this process also encourages more concentrated attention to the size,
   shape and line of the objects being rendered. With the coloured pencils, kids are then freed up to express
   additional thoughts and feelings while some semblance of the original form is maintained through in the
   outline.

1. DEMONSTRATION              10 minutes
2. FINAL PORTRAIT             50 minutes

*timing is always approximate

                                                                                                                  39
grades: 1 to 3

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART TWO . visual show and share
lesson summaries:
general
 With primary grades, the major source that I look to in learning how to help children gain the confidence and
  skill to speak their ideas to one another – and to really listen to and reflect on the ideas of others in return – is
  TALKING, DRAWING WRITING: Lessons For Our Youngest Writers by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen
  Giacobbe.
 In general preparation for this type of activity, I begin on the first day of school by working in short, daily
  periods in different contexts where students practice telling their stories orally. The goal of the audience in
  each of these instances is to learn how to listen actively and respond with relevant comments, compliments or
  questions.
 I would recommend re-watching the both/and video after the portraits are done and before the show and
  share as a refresher – particularly for younger students.

lesson a) visual show and share
This is more of a celebration of accomplishment than a “lesson” really; an opportunity for each individual student
to share a part of themselves that they have worked hard to articulate; to talk about their process and to be
honoured for their bravery in doing so. In the context of both/and – it is an opportunity to revisit the subject
matter in a reflection 2-3 days after the initial viewing. In the interim, the potential for discussion has become
richly and deeply informed by a class-full of people who have been actually thinking about and working through
what it means to “imagine a world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in the way
they’ve always wanted to.”12


materials list:
The only materials required for this part of the process are those that you already have on hand;
 your students’ self-portraits, particularly #3
 a digital camera if you have one and wish to document this part of the process for your own records


preparation:
 students should all have been given sufficient time to complete stage 3 of their self-portrait before the class
   moves on to this portion of the process.


methodology and timing:
lesson a)
1. The introduction today is a time for you to welcome the whole class back together and to set the tone for what
   will be a celebration of personal creative work accomplished and a general willingness to share our
   expressions with one another. Also during the introduction, it is a good idea to have students volunteer to
   remind the class of “rules of engagement” when it comes to maintaining a safe community space for sharing
   personal feelings and ideas without fear of judgment or rejection.
2. The basic format of the show and share for this age group is a maximum of 2 minutes per student (so as to
   take into account wandering attention spans)… Depending on your group of kids, you may even choose to
   spread this lesson over 2 days. Each participant can begin by showing their #3 self-portrait to the class and
   pointing out parts of it that they particularly like and why. For the early learner group in particular, I would



12from 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, Kate Bornstein, 7 Stories Press, 2006 – used by
Lee Hicks with permission of the author and the publisher, both/and, 2010
                                                                                                                          40
   not recommend setting any specific questions to work from and would instead make time for a few positive
   comments, compliments or questions posed to each artist from classmates with their hands up. As the teacher
   facilitator, you can also insert your own comments or questions from time to time so as to bring the
   discussion back around to the themes of the video (stereotypes, bullying, changing the way that we deal with
   “difference”, imagining and working towards a world where everyone can express themselves in the way that
   they most authentically ARE – including gender expression, attraction, race, religion, ability, etc.)
3. The “appreciation round” is an opportunity for all participants in the circle to share briefly what they most
   valued about this experience and/or to thank the group for their contributions.

1. INTRODUCTION             5 minutes
2. SHOW AND SHARE           30 – 40 minutes (approximately 2 minutes per kid)
3. APPRECIATION ROUND 5 minutes
*timing is always approximate


lesson extensions / modifications:
1. For children who are already writing (regardless of proficiency level or creative-spelling techniques) you can
   encourage them to describe certain pieces of their self-portraits in words and to write these into or around
   the existing drawing.
2. For older primary students and/or those who love writing, there are a number of potential extensions to
   creating the actual portrait, including;
    writing about the process of getting to the visual show and share (procedural writing)
    a written description of all or favourite parts of the final image (descriptive writing)
    a poem or story that builds the image with words in the same way that the found objects helped to build
      the visible image (poetry/storytelling)
4. For students who are struggling with English and/or public speaking in general, it is very possible to include
   them in this process without making it too painfully obvious that they are not speaking. For example;
    if you have access to technology – you can work with the artist before hand one-on-one to find out what
      they like best about their picture and why, and then record either your voice or theirs as a voice-over to
      video close-ups on various parts of their image.
    without technology – the same sort of effect can be done “live” with either you or a student buddy
      providing the “voice-over” while the artist points to their favourite parts of their own work.
    you can have the artist point to the aspects of their work that they like best and rely on other students in
      the class to give them positive comments and compliments in response to this sharing.




grades: 1 to 3

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART THREE . planning for action
lesson summaries:
PART TWO of this lesson plan is designed to encourage conversation that will help kids make connections
between their own experiences of identity and those of their classmates. PART THREE consists of two lessons
that will facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals towards something more like a group
planning session addressing how we as a community can make positive social change happen in the world
around us. Lesson a) is a chance for younger children to use images to articulate their thoughts about “imagining
a world” prior to sharing these ideas orally with their classmates. Lesson b) is the equivalent of “brainstorming”
in junior classes – using the visual templates from lesson a) to aid the flow of conversation in the collaborative
planning for action. I have given one example under the possible extensions / modifications heading in this
section as to the direction that one of my own classes did end up heading to begin arts-based social action in



                                                                                                                41
response to similar subject matter. I will not however take these lesson plans any further than helping to set the
stage for child-directed activism. As I touched on in the general curriculum introduction, I feel that the specific
form that this work takes should be the sole domain of students and their teacher. The role of each educator at
that point will be to listen closely in order to discern what is truly igniting the passions of their class, and then to
assist students in forming a plan that honours their optimism in a way that is manageable and socially conscious.


materials list:
 “imagine a world” template
 class set of sharp pencils and erasers.
 thin, black felt-tip pens
 pencil crayons
 chart paper and markers


preparation:
For lesson a), print off the “imagine a world” template and make a class set of copies. Each student will also
need a sharp HB pencil, an eraser and a thin, felt-tipped, black pen. Everyone should also have access to pencil
crayons. Preparation for lesson b) basically consists of having some sort of visual idea ready from the previous
lesson to share with the class. I have found that oral brainstorming in “planning for action” is facilitated by first
articulating ideas in visual form.


methodology and timing:
lesson a)
1. I suggest that younger children in particular may want to re-watch the both/and video at this point because
    there is a lot to take in, both visually and conceptually, and I find that this also helps to refocus the discussions
    that are going on in conjunction to the arts-based response.
2. After watching the video for a second time, it is often possible to have a more focused discussion with young
    children. Try going back to the point in the video where the young person asks “can you imagine a world
    like that?”… pause it - and ask the kids if they can actually imagine that...
    IF THEY CAN – ask them to share specifics about what it would look, sound, feel like…
    IF THEY CAN’T – find out why… continue to discuss to see if there is any way they could access that hope…
3. On the templates provided, ask students to draw themselves into the place of the person doing the
    imagining… encourage them to draw and colour themselves as much like they actually look as possible so that
    they are beginning to put themselves in the place of the person making active steps towards positive social
    change… In the thought bubble, ask students to draw what that imagined world would be like for them…what
    is happening there to make it the way it is?
* If you have time, sit with the students one-on-one to scribe some of their ideas on the paper for them so
that you can more easily prompt them in the discussion later if necessary.
* It is not terribly crucial how much drawing gets done on this template, or how completely drawn, outlined or
coloured it is (unless you are planning to assess and/or display it in some way and that is important to you)…
Basically, this sheet is intended to help kids organize and articulate their thoughts around the idea of “imagine a
world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in the way they’ve always wanted
to.” This is so that in lesson b), they can more confidently talk about their ideas with their classmates.

1. RE-WATCH VIDEO              15 minutes
2. DISCUSS AND INTRO.          10 minutes
3. “IMAGINE” DRAWING           35 minutes


lesson b)
1. The “share and scribe” of this lesson is basically what “brainstorming” would be with a junior grade class.
   With younger children, I find that giving them a template first to work through their own ideas visually helps


                                                                                                                       42
   to promote discussion. First, go around the circle and get as many children as are able to share some ideas
   about what this “imagined” world where everyone is safe to express themselves the way they have always
   wanted to. Some children will have lots to say, while others may just hold up a drawing and you + classmates
   can help by suggest how you feel when you look at it. As new ideas are shared, you can record them drawing
   or writing on a large piece of chart paper or whiteboard for the class to see. Once everyone has shared, take a
   moment to review and celebrate all of the ideas that you have come up with together.
2. If you have never worked collaboratively with very young children to come up with an idea for social action,
   the concept of it may seem rather daunting. Just remember that it does not need to be something hugely
   ambitious or groundbreaking… Above all, you are trying to create an association between wanting things to
   be different... thinking through how they could be different…and then actually doing something to help
   change things for the better. With the early learner age group, this can be as simple as making a
   collaborative art piece that combines and showcases your class’ magnificent hope-full ideas. You can work
   with them to find ways to share this work and these ideas with the rest of your school and the surrounding
   community. The activism here is that your message is being shared beyond the walls of your classroom and
   your students get a taste of how positive change starts to happen when individuals speak up for what they
   believe in.
   “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is
   the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

1. SHARE AND SCRIBE         20 minutes
2. GENERAL DISCUSSION       15 minutes
*timing is always approximate


lesson extensions / modifications:
One example of an experience that I have had working through material on a similar topic with this age of
students culminated in the collaborative planning and execution of a mural. This mural was then shared with the
rest of our school community and told the class’ interpretation of a poem called THE 100 LANGUAGES OF
CHILDREN by Loris Malaguzzi - translated by Lella Gandini.13




 THE HUNDRED LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN, a poem by Loris Malaguzzi, translated by Lella Gandini.
13

www.innovativeteacherproject.org/reggio/poem.php
                                                                                                                43
junior – grades 4 to 6
general introduction

“Faggot has become the all-purpose putdown… Faggot = anything. Faggot = everything.
The ubiquity of faggot redoubles its meaning and at the same time diminishes its
meaning, or at the very least blunts them through sheer repetition. Faggot is rather like a
tennis ball left too long in the game. It has lost some of its velocity. it has become and
empty term, a marker, perhaps more akin to punctuation than to actual language.”14

I chose this quote to introduce the junior section of this curriculum because the same
phenomenon has been increasingly true for the phrase “that’s so gay!” in popular culture – and
therefore in public school playgrounds - over the past several years. I have recently witnessed an
increased willingness among educators to confront this specifically overt homophobia when it
happens…. That is good. What would be even better now is a deep and united commitment to
the prevention of social bullying and gender based violence that begins at least as early as
children start attending school. Until that happens in a widespread and sustainable manner and
sticks (i.e. with the help of a government mandated anti-oppression approach to public school
curriculum for example), it is up to individual teachers to take the initiative to work this into
the culture of their own classrooms.

By the junior grades, students are frighteningly well versed in the language of bullying built on
sexism that adult society both perpetuates and is consistently unwilling to own as anything
other than, “the way things are.” You are a faggot or a sissy if you are physically male and
interested in fashion… You are a lesbo or dyke if you are physically female and don’t like make-
up or dresses… You are stared at, taunted and harassed if the gender presentation that you put
forward does not match others peoples’ perception of how you “should” look and act and feel…
According to some opponents of a revised Sexual Health Curriculum for Ontario students, it is
teachers who would be “sexualizing”15 kids by teaching them that queer culture in terms of
attraction and/or gender is just another potential way to love themselves and others for who
they really are… The tactics that the religious-right used to scare Premier McGuinty into
retracting this document are an excellent example of the way that each new generation of
schoolyard bullying left unchallenged lays the groundwork for another generation of adult
bullies in business, politics and popular culture. I for one am unwilling to base my philosophy
of education on fear mongering.

For the time being, our provincial government has decided that the political path-of-least-
resistance is worth more to them than the health and safety of all kids in Ontario. I have hope
that this will not always be the case, but in the interim, here’s how you can still teach this
content and connect directly to Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum documents in their
current state of publication…




14   Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinities, Ken Corbett, 2009, Yale University Press, p.173
15   Charles McVety, head of the Canada Christian College, CBC News, Friday, April 23, 2010
                                                                                               44
junior – grades 4 to 6
overview of curriculum

* The content of the junior lesson plans have some similarities to the primary and early learner-
kindergarten programs. The preparatory work and lesson summaries will explain how to move
effectively and authentically outward from the “self” focus with this age group. The framework of
some of the activities is similar, but the depth and points of focus are specifically geared to a more
mature group of participants.

Part One of this lesson set involves 3 pieces of preparatory work that should be completed
before the video is screened. These are intended to establish prior knowledge and, more
importantly, a basis of trust, care and community within the group. There are then 3 more
lessons for the class to work though after they have watched the video together. These lessons
start at the place of “self” and are designed to help students develop a personal connection to
the concept of pride, self-identity, and the celebration of differences through an individual, arts-
based activity.

Preparatory work is described as an overview in “students prior knowledge” and all sources
used are detailed in “resources.” The 3 lessons following the video screening will be referred
to as lesson a), lesson b) and lesson c) and will be looked at in greater detail under the
headings “lesson summaries”, “materials list”, “preparation” and “methodology and
timing.”

Part Two consists of two lessons in which the personal artwork that the students completed in
Part One becomes a starting place for conversation in response to the both/and video
resource. The discussion progresses more deeply into what the students are thinking about the
similarities and differences between the individual experiences and identities among them.

Part Three is an opportunity to facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals
to more of a group planning session that addresses how we as a community can make positive
social change happen in the world around us. It involves 2 initial lessons that will support
planning and open up space for individualized activities to develop. I will describe a potential
example of how this might occur, but encourage individual teachers to watch and listen to the
unique discussions in their own classrooms so as to move into action and activism with
authenticity and increased potential for sustainability.

Documenting images referred to throughout the lesson plans are labeled accordingly and can
be viewed at the end of the curriculum section on pages 58 – 62.




                                                                                                   45
grades: 4 to 6
RESPONSE TO both/and
students’ prior knowledge
1. BEAUTIFUL STUFF:
My approach to portrait making as a self-reflective process with kids has been inspired partially through ideas
from a book called BEAUTIFUL STUFF: Learning With Found Materials. This is a book written from the
philosophy of Reggio Emilia, which has traditionally been applied to early childhood education. I have however
adapted many aspects of Reggio philosophy to my work with junior grades, and see no reason not to do the same
with this project.

The actual “beautiful stuff” (aside from what the kids themselves create) refers to all manner of found, re-used and
recycled items that everyone in the class community collects and brings to school with the intention of sharing. For
further details on that philosophy and/or details on related projects, you can consult the source book by Cathy
Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini. In this section, I will summarize what I do with classes to collect, sort, and
create with found materials, focusing on planning for a self-portrait project in response to the both/and video. For
junior grade classes, there is far less potential chaos involved in bringing a giant pile of random found objects into
the middle of your classroom, so I will be more succinct and straightforward with my explanation than I was with
the early-learner and primary sections.

* It is also up to you whether you send a letter home to parents at this age level. For the most part I find that a
simple explanatory note with examples - that the kids can actually write to themselves as a reminder - is enough to
mobilize and sustain the project.

Approximately two weeks prior to actually needing a good supply of found materials to work with in class, I
introduce the idea of “beautiful stuff” to the class as basically, “any kind of small object or materials that you
can find which is not living, is not belonging to anyone else, and is not already being used for something
that it is essential to…“Beautiful” on the other hand has few restriction… it is whatever that idea means to
you… You may like to look or the size or the shape or the feel of it… It may make you feel happy, or just feel
something in a way that you find beautiful… No one else gets to decide what is beautiful to you.” Following
an introductory class discussion about this, I demonstrate the idea of beauty being subjective and individual by
showing the students a few found objects from my collection and explaining why I like them… Students then
volunteer to share their own past experiences with having found and/or saved interesting and “beautiful” objects.
At the end of this day, I send each student home with a large, sturdy paper bag and a list of potential objects and
searching places that they have brainstormed themselves (including the due date a couple of weeks down the road
when we would like to have all items collected and delivered to the classroom by)

For the junior grade lesson plans, I have included an adaptation to part three of the self-portrait process, which
involves translating part two – the 3D image – into a paper collage as opposed to a 2D colour drawing like the
younger grades will do. You are welcome to attempt either approach with any grade, but if you are planning on
trying out the collage method, you will also need to add “the scavenging of beautiful paper bits – varying textures,
weights and colours“ to the collection goals of your students. Also, I would recommend having a large box set out in
the classroom during the collection period where students can deposit found paper scraps directly as opposed to
mixing them in with all of the other bits and bobs.

2. THE SORTING OF THE STUFF:
On the day that the beautiful stuff collection is completed and delivered, we have an “Opening of the Bags”
ceremony in the classroom (and yes – this is fun for grade sixes too… they love random stuff in a bag as much as
the next person even if they are already too cool to admit it in public). It is up to you whether you do this as a big
class with older kids or in a few smaller groups – consolidating categories once each team’s pile is organized. The
potential for general chaos and ingestion of small objects tends decrease with age. If you are tying this work into
the math or science curriculums for junior grades, it can be a good idea to review and discuss the idea of “sorting”
with students prior to beginning this task, just to make sure everyone is on the same page as to strategies that tend
to work best for the classification of many things.



                                                                                                                  46
It is also quite acceptable to just launch in and go at this task “organically” (and by this, I mean quite seriously that I
had no idea the first time how it was going to work out before we actually did it). The trial and error DID work
though, and took place essentially like this;
 lay out all of the empty containers in a row of sorts;
 someone suggests a category and takes an example item from the big pile to “file” into a new container;
 the process is repeated until all categories that the class suggests have been assigned to their own container;
 individuals or small groups work to find and collect all of the items from the pile that fit into a certain category
 once the initial sorting is complete, there are inevitably overlapping categories that can be sorted out through
     discussion, consensus, and/or any other semi-democratic method that works for you and your class.

3. LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself
When teaching about self-portraiture, regardless of the age group, I start by suggesting that as human beings, we
all have things that we know about ourselves that seem similar to other people as well as things that seem very
different. Humans generally like at least some of the “same” things about ourselves, and some of the “different”
things, but there may also be parts that we spend time not liking at all. Often, we spend time not liking certain
parts because we are under the impression that they are either TOO much the same, or TOO different from other
people that we want to be accepted by. The very funny truth of all this is that every other human around us is
struggling with the same worries…. every single one… and the thing that they really want most of all is to be
celebrated for who they are most naturally. Just like you. So, the thing is then that this one similarity – this key
vulnerability about being human and living well in community – is really the only thing we need to worry about
knowing when we take the risk of showing ourselves fully to other people;
It means that the way that YOU do it is exactly perfect, exactly now for you, and
the way that they do it is exactly perfect for them….
That goes for drawing,
and for BE-ing.

“MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
we want to love
and be loved.”16

This doesn’t mean fear of being rejected is not scary…. it means that in THIS group at the very least, we are going
to try to remember that EVERYONE – even you – is being the very best self that they can be and that that it is an
honour to have someone share their best self with you. I then ask everyone to please remember to accept this
honour with thanks and respect for themselves and each of their classmates.

The truth is that I begin facilitating the development of this language of positive, supportive community building in
the classroom on day one of the school year because it really can’t happen all at once. Before you can expect kids to
share honestly about themselves with others, there needs to be a clear expectation of care and safety that we all
hold one another to. With younger children, you as the classroom teacher start out doing a lot of the “holding” so
to speak... As kids get older though, a very beautiful thing can occur whereby they start to expect love and
acceptance within their community and can actually call each other out when an individual acts in ways that go
against that expectation. It is an incredible moment to witness as an educator.

Risking showing more of ourselves to others is what self-portraiture does essentially – and that is why I have
found learning about self-portraits to be a good way of opening peoples’ brains wide enough to see and experience
the both/and video in a different way. As I will detail in PART ONE of the lesson plan; going through the process
of making and then sharing a self-portrait with classmates can help build a language through which even the
youngest learners can consolidate and articulate an understanding of how important it is for everyone to be seen
and accepted as themselves in the world… For me, a significant goal here is to help more children experience
acceptance and celebration of their true selves consistently, and early in life. Among other obvious benefits, I have
hope that a basic infusion of genuine love to this generation of young people will support the development of a
future adult population that is much more likely to put energy into fostering deep, loving community for others.

Perhaps this seems like a lot of theoretical preamble but, just as I think it is essential for kids to understand WHY
they are doing something in order for them to actually be invested in learning from it, it is important for me as an

16   From THE SKILLS AND PRINCIPLES OF LOVING, Shalom Mountain Sacred Retreat Centre.

                                                                                                                       47
educator to be clear on why I am teaching the content that I do. The grand majority of preparation that I do as a
classroom teacher is the work of unpacking my own intentions for myself… As in, “why am I personally invested
in planning this particular lesson in the way that I am planning it and, why is it that I am choosing to teach
this concept with this process in the first place?” As elementary school teachers, we know through much
experience that “The Best Laid Plans” for the step-by-step/how-to of something can mean very little in practical
terms when you don’t have money for the right kind of paper or your lesson is interrupted by a fire drill. It is way
easier to get back on track and not even worry about all that however, if you know why it is that you began and
where you are going. That being said;

“the potential step-by-step”:
       1.   I use an OLIVER JEFFERS book – my favourite is Lost and Found – to introduce self-portraiture to
            primary-aged kids because in the back of every one of the magnificent stories that he both writes and
            illustrates, there is an old photograph of Jeffers himself as a kid… Aside from the fact that he is brimming
            over with impish magnificence, these photos generally bear a striking resemblance to the small human
            protagonist in the story (and often he is wearing some sort of fantastic outfit that I wish came in my size).
            The outfit IS important to the project beyond my own fashion sense however, because I then show the
            class a picture of little Oliver beside the character that he has drawn in reference to himself so that we can
            notice and discuss the similarities. The best thing about his drawing style is that it is often simple shapes
            that are easy to break down and to demonstrate. In Lost and Found, he wears a very similar toque in both
            images and has drawn himself in an enviable stripey t-shirt. I like to use Jeffers with junior grades also
            because a) he is awesome, and b) it provides an excellent segway into drawing yourself in the way that you
            are MOST yourself. With grades 5 and 6 in particular, I will also show different examples of drawing styles
            from young-adult fiction and graphic novels, such as FORGET SORROW: An Ancestral Tale by Belle
            Yang17 or Chester Brown’s RIEL: A Comic Strip Biography18, both of which connect very well to different
            aspects of the Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum.

       2.   I then talk about a favourite t-shirt of mine, picking one that I feel expresses something about myself I
            would like to share with others. For example, I once chose a black t-shirt that I had sewn a puffy, pink-
            striped giraffe on to – transplanted from another shirt that I did not like. I explained that I like it because
            sometimes people say that “pink is a girl colour,” but I identify as male, and I like pink…. I also like it
            because I sewed it myself (another non-traditional but perfectly awesome pastime for men). I used my
            creativity to make something that works for me and that helps me to feel most “myself” when I wear it..

       3. As I describe my shirt for the class, I am also drawing it and other details of myself onto chart paper that I
          have set up so that everyone can see. By demonstrating this part of the process during the discussion,
          you are giving the kids a low-pressure opportunity to witness the step-by-step drawing of a self-
          portrait, and to begin thinking about how they will approach this for themselves.

       4.   Once the demonstration self-portrait of myself is done, I ask the class members to all take a minute, close
            their eyes, and think carefully about the outfit that they either have or wish they had to best describe their
            true self… We will save the sharing of these ideas for the next day, just before watching the both/and
            video and commencing the self-portrait creating.

       5. Directly after the idea of “what do you most want to draw yourself wearing” has been suggested into the
          students’ brains, I read them 10 000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. This book is about a kid named Bailey
          who happens to be born in a body that people read as “boy”. She dreams of all of the dresses that she
          would wear if she could make what she saw in her head…. and if her family would realize that actually –
          she is a girl on the inside. Following this reading, there are lots of different directions that the discussion
          may go, all of which can provide a helpful segway into watching both/and. For example;
          - how do you think the story would be different if Bailey really WAS a boy on the inside as well as
            the outside and he STILL liked to wear and design dresses? why do you think this?




17   FORGET SORROW: An Ancestral Tale, W. W. Norton & Company, Belle Yang, 2010
18   RIEL: A Comic Strip Biography, Drawn and Quarterly, Chester Brown, 2005

                                                                                                                       48
            With older students, particularly Grade 6, you can also try something a bit more mature if you are up for
            it… The youtube video “INVISIBLE” by laidbaqq19 is both beautiful and real… a brave and articulate self-
            portrait in video form. There is minimal swearing involved, so depending on your own comfort level and
            your group of kids, you may not want to show ALL of it, but it is definitely worth having the context – if
            only for yourself.

       6.   * I recommend doing this introduction to self-portraiture the DAY BEFORE watching the both/and video
            as a class, and then beginning the actual experience of creating the next day with a quick review of what
            was learned and discussed here.




19   INVISIBLE, by laidbaqq, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weo5EQyqxnM, 2011

                                                                                                                  49
grades: 4 to 6

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART ONE . self portraits
lesson summaries:
general
 The Watching, Listening and Discussing section of the General Introduction to Lesson Plans describes my
  approach to sharing this video with students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and may be helpful in thinking
  through how to start out… * Launching into things based entirely on your own ideas and intuition is also fully
  acceptable of course.
 The Students’ Prior Knowledge section of the Lesson Plan outlined the basics of 3 lessons that you may
  choose to work through with your class prior to watching and discussing both/and. The last of these is an
  introduction to self-portrait-making that I recommend doing the day directly before watching the video and
  responding with individual portrait creation.
 I have chosen to create self-portraits with my students through a self-reflective process that includes
  gathering, sorting and using many of our own re-used objects as art materials, spending time thinking about
  and discussing how we see ourselves, how we would like to walk through the world most authentically, and
  why or why not our desires and intentions match the way that we actually DO move through the world... This
  is not the only way to go about self-portrait making or to respond as a class to both/and. I do it this way
  because I find that it leaves a lot of room for challenging stereotypes of all sorts that restrict us from fully
  BEing ourselves in the world. This video was developed mainly in response to my frustration over gender
  stereotypes, sexism and transphobia, but if it also opens up space for your class to talk about other layers of
  identity such as race, religion, beauty standards, socio-ecomomics and/or ability… fantastic! None of these
  oppressions exist in isolation.
 If you are interested in learning more about the pedagogical perspectives that inform my practice, I have
  studied both the Reggio Emilia approach to emergent curriculum and a variety of community building
  and peaceful conflict-resolution practices… cobbling various influences together on an ongoing basis
  through readings and actual experiences – some of which are listed in the resources section of this document.

lesson a) DRAWING OURSELVES BEING OURSELVES
This lesson includes step one: the video - watching, listening and discussing as detailed on page 16.
It begins where LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS; telling a visual story about oneself (pages 21-22) left
off the previous day by checking in with students and asking them to share their ideas for the ways that they wish
to draw themselves in their self-portraits today. The experience of actually DRAWING OURSELVES BEING
OURSELVES will come after viewing the both/and video. This is a preliminary pencil and black pen outline sketch
invites the students to draw the “self” in the way they have been thinking and talking about. Tomorrow, this
drawing will become the model for making a 3D image of themselves constructed from your class’ beautiful stuff
collection.

lesson b) MAKING ME – 3D
MAKING ME – 3D employs the line drawing that students completed the previous day as a model for creating a 3D
image of themselves using found objects from the “beautiful stuff” collection. This image is developed on a piece
of 12”x18” coloured construction paper where the objects are placed but not glued down. One reason for this
choice is that by taking away glue as an option, we can help free kids up to explore and try things conceptually
that they may not take the time to experiment with if permanence is an “option” (because it is often read as “an
expectation”)… Small details matter – kids notice – and if we are asking them to stretch outside of social boxes
and try on different, more authentic ways of BE-ing with one another and in the world, asking them to glue a
version of themselves to a piece of paper and keep it like that forever can (rightly) be experienced as counter-
intuitive at best. Students will need to be able to refer to this 3D image the next day when they work part c) of
their self-portrait experience, so there are a couple of ways that you can help make this happen;
1. Plan this lesson at the end of one day and lesson c) at the very beginning of the next day so as to prevent
   disturbance to the un-fixed 3D image constructions and to avoid covering all available surfaces in your
   classroom for any longer than necessary.


                                                                                                                50
2. Use a digital camera to take a picture of each student’s 3D portrait as they finish it and then have them
    disassemble it and put back / re-sort all of the beautiful stuff that they used to create it that same day. Prior to
    the next lesson, print off a small (i.e. 3.5”x5”) colour photo of each self-portrait and give these to the students
    to refer to.
*IF YOU HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND OPTION 2…
In addition to other practical benefits, it is really nice to have a record of all stages of the portrait-making process.
This is especially true for JK/SK students because I have found that the developmental leap that often occurs as a
result of handling the objects they are drawing before trying to recreate them in 2D can be quite astounding and
is definitely worth documenting.

lesson c) PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES:
drawing 2D with 3D experience and found paper collage
“DRAWING 2D WITH 3D EXPERIENCE” is in reference to the fact that the process of translating oneself from the
3D body to a 2D line drawing, to a creative representation by beauty-full objects, and then back to a much-
changed 2D drawing cannot be a strictly linear experience… This is intentional. Figuring out who we really are as
human beings without all the layers of social expectations – particularly in relation to stereotypes of gender, race,
religion, ability, etc. – is neither linear, nor static, nor easy. It would seem disingenuous to me as an educator to
design the process of telling the story of one’SELF to the world as a quick sketch. By introducing this as a many-
step journey with several translations and points of reflection, we are building a space for kids to create the
specific language of authentic self-description inTO the lesson plan … (i.e. “scaffolding” in edu-speak).
In lesson c), students are asked to draw themselves again by referring directly to the photograph (or actual
objects) of the 3D image that they created the previous day. Two things generally happen at this point;
1. The technical quality of anyone’s rendering skills can improve through the simple act of having handled the
    objects that they are attempting to draw.
2. Some of the found objects that individuals have used to represent special parts of themselves are melded and
    morphed into a beauty-full and completely unique symbolism of the self.
THIS is the art piece that students will complete with colour and found paper collage after the initial translation
of the 3D drawing to 2D. They will then challenge themselves to speak about it with the rest of the class
community in PART TWO of the lesson plan; visual show and share.


materials list:
PREPARATORY LESSONS:
 class set of large, sturdy paper bags. (handles are useful)
 20-30 medium sized containers to house the various categories of “stuff”
 Lost and Found picture book by Oliver Jeffers
 unlined chart paper + pencil and/or large black marker
 10 000 Dresses picture book by Marcus Ewert
*both/and video can be viewed online at www.mygsa.ca

SELF PORTRAITS:
 8.5” X 11” white copier paper
 class set of sharp pencils and erasers.
 thin, black felt-tip pens
 pencil crayons
 12” x 18” construction paper of a darker yet festive tone (turquoise blue or forest green seem to work well)
 an extensive and impressive collection of kid-found “beautiful stuff”
 glue sticks for paper collage
 various colours, weights and textures of found/recycled paper to share
 picture books to demonstrate paper collage,
    i.e. THE PAPER DRAGON by Robert Sabuda or anything by Eric Carle
*digital camera
*access to a colour printer
_________________________________________________________________________
* all items are technically “optional” but starred items are particularly so.

                                                                                                                       51
preparation:
You will require internet access to your classroom computer in order to watch both/and online at
www.mygsa.ca.
If you are having trouble accessing the material, please feel free to contact me at leehicks30@gmail.com.

lesson a)
For this first portrait, each student will need one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier paper, a sharp HB
pencil, an eraser and a thin, felt-tipped, black pen. It will also be useful to some students to have the visual
examples produced at the previous day’s LEARNING ABOUT SELF-PORTRAITS lesson to available to reference.

* With arts based activities in particular, I find that there are always kids who very legitimately finish in
15 minutes… and then others who could very legitimately spend the entire day on the task. For this reason I
generally give a moderate estimate for completion time, and then suggest having a variety of other
optional activities on hand for early finishers so as not to stress out the meticulous or bore the more
definitive among us.

lesson b)
I have found it useful at this stage of the process to have an area of the classroom – perhaps a stretch of floor at
one side of the room - where the many containers of beautiful stuff can be housed in a way that is available to
several kids at a time. The students will need to browse the contents of the collection often throughout this class,
and it is way more likely to stay in a reasonable state of order if it is easily accessible. Other than that, all that is
required is one piece of coloured 12” x 18” construction paper per student. If you are not doing photo
documentation of completed portraits, you will need to figure out how to have the students working on surfaces
where they can leave their creations undisturbed until the next day.

lesson c)
The materials for this stage of the process are also quite minimal; one piece of regular white 8.5” x 11” copier
paper, a sharp HB pencil, an eraser, pencil crayons and a thin , felt-tipped, black pen for each student. You will
also be making use of your class-collected stock of paper scraps. If you find that you do not have enough different
papers collected by the day that you need them, you can always supplement with blocks of colour and patterns
cut out of old magazines and advertisements. The real preparation is for those teachers who chose to photo
document the 3D self-portraits from the previous lesson. You will need to print off colour versions of these
photos for your students to work from today. In order to preserve ink and paper, I generally print these at ¼
page size, which is quite sufficient for reference.


methodology and timing: *
lesson a)
1. This lesson begins where the previous day’s discussion about imagining dressing ourselves and walking
   through world the way that we feel most authentic left off after reading 10 000 DRESSES and/or watching and
   discussing the youtube video-self-portrait INVISIBLE by laidbaqq. Begin in a discussion circle and ask if
   anyone would like to share their thoughts regarding how they would like to draw themselves in their self-
   portraits today… Make time and space for whoever would like to share to participate.
2. WATCH VIDEO – as outlined on page 16, “watching, listening and discussing” (or whatever works for you)
3. The discussion that takes place after the video will again be dependent on the particular composition and
   collective experiences of your classroom…. the important point is simply to make time for it.
4. Before the individual art making begins, refresh your students’ memory of examples and ideas discussed the
   previous day in LEARNING ABOUT SELF PORTRAITS by re-posting your chart paper examples and making
   the Oliver Jeffers book(s) accessible. For this portrait, I ask the students to draw in pencil, and then go over
   their final outline in fine-tipped black pen. The main reason for this is aesthetic preference, so that step is
   entirely up to you. Personally, I find it easier to work with kids’ artwork in digital form later on if they all have
   the same orientation on the paper… Also, doing self-portraits on vertically oriented paper sneakily encourages
   kids to draw their entire body as opposed to just their head or their big toe… Taking these factors into
   consideration, I highly recommend asking all your kids to work on vertical paper for this project.



                                                                                                                       52
1. CHECK-IN                   10 minutes
2. WATCH THE VIDEO            15 minutes
3. DISCUSS                    10 minutes
4. INDIVIDUAL DRAWING         30 minutes

lesson b)
1. * Please see the visual documentation section of this curriculum for examples of what a 3D self-
   portrait may end up looking like *(keeping in mind that most of the examples that I have are from primary-
   aged children)
   Over the past few days of working through this project with your class, you as the classroom teacher will have
   already created a 2D self-portrait that you can use to refer to when demonstrating the translation of line
   drawing to 3D beautiful stuff image. If you would like, you can have your students help you to search the
   collection for items that you might use in your portrait (surreptitiously modeling respectful care for shared
   materials). *BE SURE TO PHOTODOCUMENT OR OTHERWISE PRESERVE YOUR OWN 3D IMAGE so that
   you have it available for reference at the start of lesson c)
2. Basically, this class is the jurisdiction of your students and their own creative interpretation of the task at
   hand. In terms of practical considerations, you have 20 to 30 bins of magnificent found objects and 20 to 30
   young people. Let us acknowledge that the potential for chaos is present… HOWEVER, believe it or not, I have
   found that by the time the project gets to this stage, the kids have developed a sense of respect for and
   connection with the materials (and one another) that actually supersedes what we as classroom teachers
   might expect would happen… In other words; briefly demonstrate… point your students in the direction of
   the materials… relax, and enjoy.
   If you are photo documenting the 3D images you will need to take a picture of each student’s work as they
   complete it. *SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME on the image-processing side of things and frame your shots so
   that you are taking in only the objects that the student has used to create their image and a thin coloured
   border around them… this way you can just select “print” for all images as opposed to having to crop and cut.
3. Once you have a good photo of the 3D image, the student can begin to put away the beautiful stuff from their
   project for later re-use by sorting it back into the appropriate containers. If you are not photo documenting,
   simply ensure that all of the non-fixed 3D images are safe on stable surfaces until the next stage of the project
   commences tomorrow.

1. DEMONSTRATION              15 minutes
2. 3D IMAGE CREATION          45 minutes
3. CLEAN-UP                   10 minutes * if you are putting the beautiful stuff away today

lesson c)
1. I also recommend starting this lesson out with a brief demonstration of moving from 3D image into a different
   sort of 2D drawing (using either the 3D image that you preserved from yesterday’s class or your colour photo
   to refer to)… This time, you are different yourself though, as you now contain the experience of these actual
   shapes, lines and colours in your hands, informing your knowledge and your use of them as a medium.
   Basically, all you are demonstrating at this point is a combination of careful attention to shape, colour and
   form in the objects that you chose to combine, as well as a willingness to change your plan based on intuition;
   (to pay careful attention to self).
2. This final version of the self-portrait begins with a pencil drawing. The goal here is to use the shapes and
   forms of self-selected beauty-full things to inspire the emergence of a more personal level of depicting the self.
   Once the basic outline and organization of details has been established, the kids can use a combination of
   coloured pencil, paper collage (and/or any other mediums that you choose to introduce) to complete that
   process of making their authentic selves visible.
   FOR REFERENCE: I recommend showing your students other examples of paper collage to help inspire them.
   Two of my favourite artist/authors for this are Robert Sabuda and Eric Carle, but there are many others.
   * I do not have a visual example of a collage-phase self-portrait by a junior student available, but I have
   included a couple of other examples of Grade 6 found-paper-collages in the visual documentation section.

1. DEMONSTRATION            10 minutes
2. FINAL PORTRAIT           60 minutes
*timing is always approximate

                                                                                                                   53
grades: 4 to 6

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART TWO . visual show and share
lesson summaries:
general
 With junior grades, the major source that I look to in learning how to help kids gain the confidence and skill to
  speak their ideas to one another – and to really listen to and reflect on the ideas of others in return – is
  READING WRITING AND RISING UP by Linda Christensen. It is written for intermediate/senior students but
  is easily adaptable to junior as well.
 In general preparation for this type of activity, I begin on the first day of school – daily, and in a variety of
  contexts – with activities where students can practice telling their stories orally. The goal of the audience in
  each of these instances is to learn how to listen actively and respond with relevant and increasingly thought
  provoking comments, compliments or questions.
 I would recommend re-watching the both/and video after the portraits are done and before the show and
  share as a refresher.

lesson a) visual show and share
This is more of a celebration of accomplishment than a “lesson” really; an opportunity for each individual student
to share a part of themselves that they have worked hard to articulate; to talk about their process and to be
honoured for their bravery in doing so. In the context of both/and – it is an opportunity to revisit the subject
matter in a reflection 2-3 days after the initial viewing. In the interim, the potential for discussion has become
richly and deeply informed by a class-full of people who have been actually thinking about and working through
what it means to “imagine a world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in the way
they’ve always wanted to.”20


materials list:
The only materials required for this part of the process are those that you already have on hand;
 your students’ self-portraits, particularly #3
 a digital camera if you have one and wish to document this part of the process for your own records


preparation:
 students should all have been given sufficient time to complete stage 3 of their self-portrait before the class
   moves on to this portion of the process.


methodology and timing:
lesson a)
1. The introduction today is a time for you to welcome the whole class back together and to set the tone for what
   will be a celebration of personal creative work accomplished and a general willingness to share our
   expressions with one another. Also during the introduction, it is a good idea to have students volunteer to
   remind the class of “rules of engagement” when it comes to maintaining a safe community space for sharing
   personal feelings and ideas without fear of judgment or rejection.
2. The basic format of the show and share for this age group can be a bit looser than with younger, but I would
   still recommend a time frame of about 3-4 minutes per student, maximum … Depending on your group of kids,
   you may even choose to spread this lesson over 2 days. Each participant can begin by showing their #3 self-
   portrait to the class and describing aspects of their learning/working process that interested them, including



20from 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, Kate Bornstein, 7 Stories Press, 2006 – used by
Lee Hicks with permission of the author and the publisher, both/and, 2010

                                                                                                                          54
   parts of their visual work that they particularly like and why. As the teacher facilitator, you can also insert
   your own comments or questions from time to time so as to bring the discussion back around to the themes of
   the video (stereotypes, bullying, changing the way that we deal with “difference”, imagining and working
   towards a world where everyone can express themselves in the way that they most authentically ARE – including
   gender expression, attraction, race, religion, ability, etc.)
3. The “appreciation round” is an opportunity for all participants in the circle to share briefly what they most
   valued about this experience and/or to thank the group for their contributions.

1. INTRODUCTION             5 minutes
2. SHOW AND SHARE           60 - 80 minutes (approximately 3-4 minutes per kid)
3. APPRECIATION ROUND 5 minutes
*timing is always approximate


lesson extensions / modifications:
1. For kids who always finish early and/or like a challenge, encourage them to incorporate text into/on/around
   their existing imagery.
2. There are any number of potential language-based extensions to creating the actual visual portrait for junior
   grades, including;
    writing about the process of getting to the visual show and share (procedural writing)
    a written description of all or favourite parts of the final image (descriptive writing)
    a poem or story that builds the image with words in the same way that the found objects helped to build
      the visible image (poetry/storytelling)
    written reflection on their own oral presentation, or that of a classmate who particularly inspired them
3. For students who are struggling with English and/or public speaking in general, it is very possible to include
   them in this process without making it too painfully obvious that they are not speaking as proficiently.
   For example;
    if you have access to technology – you can work with the artist before hand one-on-one to find out what
      they like best about their picture and why, and then record either your voice or theirs as a voice-over to
      video close-ups on various parts of their image.
    without technology – the same sort of effect can be done “live” with either you or a student buddy
      providing the “voice-over” while the artist points to their favourite parts of their own work.
    you can have the artist point to the aspects of their work that they like best and rely on other students in
      the class to give them positive comments and compliments in response to this sharing.




grades: 4 to 6

RESPONSE TO both/and
PART THREE . planning for action
lesson summaries:
PART TWO of this lesson plan is designed to encourage conversation that will help kids make connections
between their own experiences of identity and those of their classmates. PART THREE consists of two lessons
that will facilitate a transition from talk about and between individuals towards something more like a group
planning session addressing how we as a community can make positive social change happen in the world
around us. Lesson a) uses the strategy of creative visualization 21 to jump start students in articulating their
thoughts about “imagining a world” in writing prior to sharing these ideas orally with their classmates. Lesson b)



21I first read about the technique of using creative visualization with kids in an article by TDSB teacher Jane Hamilton in the
book TEACHING GREEN – THE ELEMENTARY YEARS; Hands on Learning in Grades K-5, Green Teacher Press, 2005.

                                                                                                                            55
is basically “brainstorming” – using the experience and writing material that came out of the creative
visualization process to aid the flow of conversation in the collaborative planning for action. I have given one
example under the possible extensions / modifications heading in this section as to the direction that one of
my own classes did end up heading to begin arts-based social action in response to similar subject matter. I will
not however take these lesson plans any further than helping to set the stage for child-directed activism. As I
touched on in the general curriculum introduction, I feel that the specific form that this work takes should be the
sole domain of students and their teacher. The role of each educator at that point will be to listen closely in order to
discern what is truly igniting the passions of their class, and then to assist students in forming a plan that will
honour their optimism in a way that is both manageable and socially conscious.


materials list:
 “imagine a world” script (make up your own on the spot and/or refer to an example script in this document)
 class set of sharp pencils
 loose-leaf lined paper
 chart paper and markers


preparation:
For lesson a), you do not need to use the sample script that I have provided for the “imagine a world” creative
visualization… Basically, you should just have some idea in your own mind of how you will lead your kids
through it. The writing exercise takes place directly following the visualization and I find that things flow best
when each student prepares their desk beforehand with a piece of lined paper and a pencil that they can easily
return to. Preparation for lesson b) basically consists of having already given your students the experience of
visualizing and writing individually so that they are feeling confident and organized for oral brainstorming in
“planning for action”.


methodology and timing:
lesson a)
1. I suggest you and your class may want to re-watch the both/and video at this point because there is a lot to
   take in, both visually and conceptually, and I find that this also helps to refocus the discussions that are going
   on in conjunction to the arts-based response.
2. After watching both/and for a second time, it is often possible to have a more focused discussion on some of
   the subtler themes of the video. Try going back to the point in the video where the young person asks, “can
   you imagine a world like that?”… pause it - and ask the kids if they can actually imagine that... They don’t
   have to answer right away, but thinking about it in terms of what they personally, honestly think is a good
   segway into the next part of the activity; the creative visualization:
3. You can use the example script for creative visualization in this curriculum document as a model, read off it
   word-for-word, OR make up your own thing entirely… all options are good. I generally find that about 5
   minutes is sufficient time for all of this good virtual-visual inspiration to get started, but also feel free to adjust
   up or down in response to the actual group of kids you have sitting in front of you.
   Three factors are really important to get settled before you begin though;
    REDUCE LIGHT – turn off all overhead classroom lights and shut the blinds if you can
    SPACE – I tell the kids that they can sit or lie anywhere in the room that I can see them and they can hear
       me as long as they are not too close to any other person.
    QUIET – in order for the students to be able to concentrate on your voice and their own imagination
       exclusively, there CANNOT be any other distracting noise in the immediate area,
       (i.e. from less-focused classmates in particular)
4. I generally give the kids 15-30 of quiet, UNINTERRUPTED writing time that starts directly after the creative
   visualization ends, and is essentially “sacred” time where interrupting any other person’s thought process is
   strictly prohibited… this is important, and kids usually have a pretty easy time holding this because they really
   want that respect for their own process as well...




                                                                                                                       56
     As one of my magnificent grade 6 students said recently:
     “Adults don’t usually trust kids, but if you do, we can gain the confidence and inner strength to do a
     LOT of things” – Noa, 2011
     It is not terribly crucial how much writing gets done in this activity (unless you are planning to assess and/or
     display it in some way and that is important to you)… Despite the lack of pressure to produce a certain
     amount of work, I usually find that most kids write WAY more than they normally would after taking part in
     an activity like this. Having a quiet, concentrated period of time where someone walks you through the
     process of developing “pictures” of what you are going to write in your own mind before you even pick up a
     pencil helps to reduce the “what do I write!?!” anxiety in many people – not just kids.
     Basically, the creative visualization process is intended to help kids organize and articulate their thoughts
     around the idea of “imagine a world where anyone can safely – and even joyfully – express themselves in
     the way they’ve always wanted to.” This is so that in lesson b), they can more confidently and fluently
     discuss their ideas with their classmates.

1. RE-WATCH VIDEO              15 minutes
2. DISCUSS AND INTRO.          10 minutes
3. VISUALIZATION               5 minutes
4. “IMAGINE” WRITING           15 - 30 minutes (depending on age and/or experience of students)

lesson b)
1. For the oral brainstorming phase of this lesson, I like to have the kids arrange a circle of chairs that includes
   everyone in the center of the classroom… I as the designated “scribe” generally sit on the floor in the middle of
   the circle with several pieces of chart paper and markers. As the kids go around the circle and share their
   ideas about the world they are imagining with the rest of the group, I write all of the new points as fast as
   humanly possible on the large paper where everyone can see and refer to them during the discussion. *Later
   in the school year, the class is usually at a point of familiarity and comfort with this process that they can
   self-regulate and self-direct the discussion as a group of people at a dinner conversation might negotiate
   amongst themselves to include everyone. When just starting out however, you as scribe can also play
   double-duty as facilitator to keep things on track… Once everyone has shared, take a moment to review and
   celebrate all of the ideas that you have come up with together as a class.
2. If you have never worked collaboratively with kids to come up with an idea for social action, the concept of it
   may seem rather daunting. Just remember that it does not need to be something hugely ambitious or
   groundbreaking, especially the first time you try it. Above all, you are trying to create an association between
   wanting things to be different... thinking through how they could be different…and then actually doing
   something to help change things for the better. At first, this can be as simple as making a collaborative art
   piece that combines and showcases your class’ magnificent hope-full ideas. You can them find ways to share
   this work and these ideas with the rest of your school and the surrounding community. The activism here is
   that your message is being shared beyond the walls of your classroom and your students get a taste of how
   positive change starts to happen when individuals speak up for what they believe in.
   “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is
   the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

1. ORAL BRAINSTORMING 20 minutes
2. PLAN FOR ACTION          15 minutes
*timing is always approximate

lesson extensions / modifications:
One example of an experience that I have had working through material on a similar topic with this age of
students culminated in the collaborative planning and execution of a mural. This mural was then shared with the
rest of our school community and told the class’ interpretation of a poem called THE 100 LANGUAGES OF
CHILDREN by Loris Malaguzzi - translated by Lella Gandini.22



 THE HUNDRED LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN, a poem by Loris Malaguzzi, translated by Lella Gandini.
22

www.innovativeteacherproject.org/reggio/poem.php

                                                                                                                   57
visual documentation




P1. The “OPENING OF THE BAGS CEREMONY” and parent feedback letter from the collection process

P2.                               P3.                                      P4.




Enjoying the objects              Deciding on categories for sorting       Beginning 3D self-portrait


Junior/Senior Kindergarten
Palmerston Avenue Public School
2009



                                                                                                  58
P5. Drawing with reference to Oliver Jeffers’ LOST AND FOUND




P6. VISUAL SHOW AND SHARE – Junior/Senior Kindergarten Palmerston Avenue Public School


                                                                      Examples of paper collage
                                                                      Grade 6
                                                                      Palmerston Avenue Public School
                                                                      2010

                                                                      P7. far left:
                                                                      “tree, water and sky”
                                                                      in process with elements of pencil
                                                                      drawing in background still visible

                                                                      P8. left:
                                                                      “outer space”
                                                                      completed found paper collage




                                                                                                            59
P9. CREATIVE VISUALIZATION                                      P10. Writing Response




P11. ORAL BRAINSTORMING – post creative visualization process


Grade 6
Palmerston Avenue Public School
2010




                                                                                        60
P12. COMPLETED MURAL: The 100 Languages of Children – 5’x10’ mixed media and paper collage


P13. COLLABORATIVE DESIGN AND CREATION PROCESS:




                                                                                             61
P14. DETAILS: 100 Languages Mural




Grade 4 - Palmerston Avenue Public School - 2008




P15. COLLABORATIVE DESIGN AND CREATION PROCESS: Peaceful Dream Mural
Junior/Senior Kindergarten - Palmerston Avenue Public School – 2009


                                                                       62
Dear families,

We have been working hard these last few weeks to learn how to sort and count and share all
different sorts of objects together and now, we would like to COLLECT!

Will you help us please?

We are sending home a paper bag for each child to keep their found collections in until they
are brought back to school to share with everyone in the classroom. We would like to have a
“GRAND-OPENING-of-the-bags” event on ___________, so if you could please have your
bags returned to us on or before that date it would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe when looking in a drawer you will find some things that we could use for our project... or
when you are outside walking... or even cleaning your room!... Small bits of recycled materials
can also be very interesting.

There are few limits to the sorts of things that you could find and bring, but we do ask that
they please be small, fit into the bag. and are clean. *Please be aware that some children at
age 3 still have a tendency to put things in their mouths, so please use your discretion with the
materials and exclude anything that might be potentially sharp or toxic.

If you would like some help getting started, here is a list of potential categories of materials
that you could collect:

      wire
      buttons
      costume jewelry
      string, ribbons and yarn
      old keys and other metallic objects
      small machines like watches that don’t work
      corks and bottle caps
      fabric remnants
      shells and other natural finds like stones, etc.
      sponges
      wood scraps
      baskets
      cardboard pieces (any type/shape)
      paper – different textures, weights and colours
      screws and bolts
      small mirrors (no jagged edges please)
      MANY other types of things...


As a teacher, I would like to investigate what it means to children when they have sought out,
discovered, and collected materials themselves. Does this affect the way that they use and
care for these materials? Are they more thoughtful, focused and pleased with their efforts
when they have been engaged in the process right from the beginning?



                                                                                              63
We will be using these materials in a number of different ways throughout the year ( the
majority of them to be planned based on the children’s’ own responses to our early
investigations). The main goal is for the children to become comfortable with their own
explorations and confident in their oral, drawn, and eventually written reflections of their
creations.

“The goal is to allow children to become fluent with materials – as if materials were a
language” – Lella Gandini

I am very interested in any perceptions that you or your child has about the collecting process.
Any interesting dialogue or quotes that you are able to record would be very helpful as well. I
would be happy to know your thoughts.

With thanks,
LEE




                                                                                             64
65
CREATIVE VISUALIZATION SCRIPT
* inspired by the work of Jane Hamilton


We are going on a journey together today:
an imaginary journey into our own imaginations and even further…
into the collective imagination that happens when each one of us dreams together.
It may feel like a dream, but you will be awake.
You won’t be alone on this journey because you will be guided by all of the experiences and
discussions that our class has shared together that have led us to this point today. I
encourage you to let whatever thoughts and feelings you have simply happen. We are going to
gain strength and wisdom and clarity from our journey as we take the time and space to
visualize the new world that we aim to create together today.

Your eyes should stay closed, but in your head, you are slowly beginning to see and feel and
experience this new world around you…
Where are you sitting in this new world?
It is your favourite space to be and it is the space that you feel most safe …
What does it look like? Are you inside a building or in a big open space?
What is it about this place that feels best to you?
What can you see?... Smell?… Hear?... What other living creatures are near to you?

In your mind, you can see yourself standing up now from the place that you have been sitting
and you begin to walk around and to explore this space …
What does the ground feel like under your feet?
Are you up high, or underground or… are you even on ground at all?

This is your world and it is a place where everything that you can imagine as good and true and
important is an integral part of the way that society works.
There are many, many children here… can you see them all in the world around you? Take a
moment now to see and understand and appreciate their differences…
The different ways that they look and move and speak – yes,
but also see deeper…
See all of the different ways that they feel and love and care and dream and express
themselves…
These many, many ways of be-ing are the languages of this world.
They are the 100-MILLION ways to be that are all legitimate and important and precious…
you can understand and appreciate all of them.

This world of amazing new plants … and creatures… and buildings
was and is being created by the expression of all these different people working together;
by the simple fact that they are allowed and encouraged to exist.
Look all around and you will see how everything that each child imagines can be a part of this
world.


                                                                                                 66
The world is being drawn and painted and spoken and built into existence BY children and all of
their magnificent ideas even as you are walking around inside of it …
Take a minute now in silence to notice and remember what you have seen and experienced here
today …

Slowly,
peacefully,
walk back now to the safe and comfortable place in this world where you started this journey.

Settle yourself down there again for a rest.

In just a minute, you will open up your eyes and be back in this classroom and the community of
your classmates, but you will not forget the colours and shapes and details of the place that
you have been.

This is part of our world together now, and we can re-create it together with our creativity,
positive energy, and willingness to really SEE, KNOW and APPRECIATE one another.

Slowly open your eyes,
stretch,
and find yourself back in this room.




                                                                                                67
resources
BEAUTIFUL STUFF: Learning With Found Materials, Sterling Press, Topal and Gandini, 1999.

IN THE SPIRIT OF THE STUDIO: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia, Teachers College Press, Gandini,
Hill, Cadwell and Schwall, 2005

EMERGENT CURRICULUM IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM: Interpreting the Reggio Emilia Approach in
Schools, Teachers College Press, Carol Anne Wein, 2008

TALKING, DRAWING, WRITING: Lessons For Our Youngest Writers, Stenhouse Publishers, Martha Horn and
Mary Ellen Giacobbe, 2007

READING, WRITING AND RISING UP: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word,
Rethinking Schools Ltd. Linda Christensen, 2000

RETURNING TO THE TEACHINGS: Exploring Aboriginal Justice, Penguin Books Australia, Rupert Ross, 1996

TEACHING GREEN – THE ELEMENTARY YEARS; Hands on Learning in Grades K-5, Green Teacher Press,
editors Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn, 2005.

ALL ABOUT LOVE: New Visions, Harper Pernnial, Bell Hooks, 2000

BOYHOODS: Rethinking Masculinities, Yale University Press, Ken Corbett, 2009

101 ALTERNATIVES TO SUICIDE FOR TEENS, FREAKS AND OTHER OUTLAWS, 7 Stories Press,
Kate Bornstein, 2006

SHALOM MOUNTAIN SACRED RETREAT CENTRE, www.shalommountain.com

LOST AND FOUND, Harper Collins, Oliver Jeffers, 2005

10 000 DRESSES, 7 Stories Press, Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray, 2010

FORGET SORROW: An Ancestral Tale, W. W. Norton & Company, Belle Yang, 2010

RIEL: A Comic Strip Biography, Drawn and Quarterly, Chester Brown, 2005

THE PAPER DRAGON, Atheneum, Robert Sabuda, 1997

THE BLIZZARD”S ROBE, Atheneum, Robert Sabuda, 1999

THE OFFICIAL ERIC CARLE WEBSITE: www.eric-carle.com/home.html

THE 100 LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Loris Malaguzzi - translated by Lella Gandini.
www.innovativeteacherproject.org/reggio/poem.php

INVISIBLE, by laidbaqq, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weo5EQyqxnM, 2011

*both/and video can be viewed online at www.mygsa.ca

CURRENT CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS FROM THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF EDUCATION:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/curriculum.html

Toronto District School Board’s OFFICE FOR GENDER BASED VIOLENCE PREVENTION,
www.tdsb.on.ca/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=10471&menuid=27720&pageid=23861


                                                                                                        68
glossary of terms23
ableism:
Bias and discrimination in favour of those defined as “able-bodied”.

assigned sex:
Assigned Sex refers to the sex a person is assigned at birth and is most likely raised as. It is a more accurate way of
referring to what most people still call “biological sex”.

classism:
Bias and discrimination based on the perception of belonging to a particular social class.

gender:
Gender is socially constructed and is based on societal expectations of how a person should behave based on their
sex.

gender identity:
A person’s gender identity is linked to their sense of self, It is a person’s own identification of being male, female,
intersex; masculine, feminine, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirit or genderqueer among many other terms
and combinations of these concepts.

gender queer:
This very recent term was coined by people who experience a very fluid sense of their gender identity and/or
sexual orientation, and who do not want to be constrained by absolute or static concepts. Instead, they prefer to be
open to continuous flow on the gender and sexual orientation continuums.

Gender role / presentation / expression:
The public expression of gender identity; gender role includes everything people do (or at least everything that
others perceive that they do) to show the world they are male, female, androgynous or ambivalent. It includes
sexual signals, dress, hairstyle and manner of moving/interacting. In society, gender roles are usually considered
to be masculine for men and feminine for woman, but this is also a construct.

gender variant:
Gender variance refers to challenging the boundaries of socially prescribed norms of what is “typically” male or
female through physical appearance, dress and/or behaviour. Also may be referred to as gender bending, gender
non-conforming, gender open, or gender independent.

homophobia:
The irrational fear, hatred, prejudice and/or negative attitudes towards homosexuality and people who do not
identify as “straight”. Homophobia can take overt and extreme as well as covert and subtle forms. Homophobia
includes behaviours such as jokes, name-calling, exclusion, and verbal or physical violence, etc.

LGBTTTQQI:
The current manifestation (frequently shifting) of a common acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual,
transgendered, two-spirit, queer, questioning and intersex individuals/communities.

queer:
Traditionally, this was a derogatory and offensive term for LGBTTTQQI people. Many LGBTTTQQI people have
reclaimed this word and use it proudly and politically to describe their identity. Some transsexual and
transgendered people identify as queers; others do not.




23The main source of reference for these definitions was the Toronto District School Board’s OFFICE FOR GENDER BASED
VIOLENCE PREVENTION, www.tdsb.on.ca/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=10471&menuid=27720&pageid=23861

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Reggio Emilia:
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was
started by Loris Malaguzzi and parents from villages around the town of Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II.
Parents believed that the destruction from the war necessitated a new, quick approach to teaching their children.
They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to the
creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and
discovery in a supportive and enriching environment built on the interests of the children through a child-
inspired, emergent curriculum.

sexism:
All attitudes, procedures and patterns – economic, social and cultural – whose effect, (regardless of conscious
intention), is to create, maintain and extend the power and privilege of one sex or gender over another.
transgendered:
a person whose gender identity is different from his or her assigned sex at birth. It is also often used as an
umbrella term to include transsexuals, crossdressers, two-spirit, intersex, genderqueer and transgendered people.

transsexual:
A term for a person who has the experience of being a sex other then his or her birth-assigned sex and who
typically pursues a medical and legal transformation to embody the sex that they know they actually are. There are
transmen (female-to-male transsexuals) and transwomen (male-to-female transsexuals). Transsexual people may
undergo a number of procedures to bring their body and public identity in line with their self-identity, including
sex hormone therapy, electrolysis treatments, sex reassignment surgeries and legal changes of name and/or sex
status.

transphobia:
The irrational fear, hatred, prejudice and/or negative attitudes toward transsexual, transgendered and other
trans-identified people. Transphobia can take overt and extreme as well as covert and subtle forms. Transphobia
includes behaviours such as jokes, name-calling, exclusion, and verbal or physical violence, etc.




This document was made to be shared.
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Please share often.

  Lee Hicks. 2011


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